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Ton-up Porterfield is full of praise as Irish begin tour with win

By Ian Callender

On the sixth anniversary of Ireland's greatest win, the celebrations were not quite so ecstatic after they defeated UAE by 85 runs in Dubai in their first one day international of the year.

Kevin O'Brien, the hero of that famous World Cup game against England in Bangalore, threatened to repeat his match-winning century before he was cut off in his prime on 69, but captain William Porterfield did not miss out, scoring exactly 100 from 115 balls.

Having left out Tim Murtagh - who has returned home for the birth of his second child - Barry McCarthy and Jacob Mulder from their bowling attack, it was by no means a formality that Ireland would defend their total of 270.

But after the UAE raced to 60 for one in 10 overs, it was the two chosen spinners, Andy McBrine and George Dockrell, who ensured there would be no opening day hiccups as the home side collapsed to 112 for seven.

With the inevitable result looming, Ahmed Raza was turning down singles to keep the strike but Ireland still wrapped it up in the 42nd over, to the delight of the captain.

"It's great to start the tour with a win," said Porterfield. "We had a few really good partnerships in the middle and Kevin O'Brien did a great job for us.

"They came at us hard in the first 10 overs, but I was really pleased as to how the lads came back and stuck to their plans.

"To take 10 wickets on that surface was a great effort. The most pleasing thing is that I feel we have more to give."

For Porterfield himself, he could forget about his travails at the Desert T20 tournament in January - when he scored just 34 in five innings - as he chalked up a classy 14th hundred for Ireland with eight fours and a six.

O'Brien, who also hit seven fours in his 53-ball innings, and Gary Wilson, in a run-a-ball 33, also cleared the boundary but the innings faltered badly when pace bowler Zahoor Khan changed ends. UAE's sixth bowler had conceded 26 in his first four overs but came back to take the last six wickets for eight runs in 15 balls.

But against the new ball duo of Craig Young and Peter Chase, the UAE batsmen flattered to deceive and once the slow bowlers came on, it was an unfair contest. Indeed, Porterfield was able to use only five bowlers with Stuart Thompson, in his first international since February last year, taking the final wicket.

The teams meet again in a second ODI tomorrow.

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