Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Stirling will be ready to tangle with the Dutch

Available: Paul Stirling is fit to face the Netherlands tomorrow

Paul Stirling is available for selection for Ireland's World Twenty20 game against the Netherlands tomorrow morning, despite retiring hurt after just five balls of his innings yesterday.

Even without their dynamic opening batsman, Ireland eased past an outclassed UAE side to leave them just one win away from the second round.

But, once again, it was not a straightforward victory with the game being decided by the Duckworth/Lewis method after a second floodlight failure plunged the Sylhet ground into darkness and rain then prevented the last six overs of the match from being completed.

However, such was Ireland's dominance of the first 12 overs, when they reached 95 for no wicket, in reply to the UAE's 123 for six, even the loss of three wickets for six runs ensured Ireland's victory margin was still 21 runs.

Throughout the 80 runs partnership between William Porterfield and man of the match Ed Joyce, the main concern was for Stirling, who was hit on his right elbow to his first ball from pace bowler Sharif Asadullah. He received immediate attention from physio Andy Dunne but decided to not only play on but proceeded to hit two fours in the over.

Two balls into the next over, however, the pain worsened and, after speaking with his captain, he left the field and was immediately sent to hospital for an x-ray which revealed a soft tissue injury, rather than a break.

Ireland's spinners conceded 22 runs, with 16 'dot balls' and the seamers ended with figures of three for 96 in their 16 overs, including a remarkable 42 balls the UAE failed to score from, with Kevin O'Brien and Tim Murtagh the most impressive.

Looking ahead to tomorrow's game, Porterfield expected a closer contest.

"The Dutch have played some excellent cricket so far but we are in a great position, knowing that if we win the game we are through," he added.

The Netherlands gave Zimbabwe a fright yesterday, before Vusi Sibanda hit the last ball of the match for six to give them their first win and keep them in with a chance of making the second phase if Ireland slip up.

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