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Ireland have serious issues to sort ahead of T20 bid

By Staff Reporter

Just three weeks from Ireland's first match at the World Twenty20, their batting problems remain unresolved after UAE claimed a stunning five-run victory in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

When captain William Porterfield and Paul Stirling added 61 in seven overs, needing only another 73 for victory, it looked as if the top order were, finally, going to make a big contribution.

Stirling was bowled for 28 but although Stuart Poynter scored only 10 of the next 30 runs from 13 balls, there was still no panic. When the No.3 was bowled, however, the slide proved irreversible.

Not one of the remaining eight batsmen survived more than six balls, no-one scored more than five and only Stuart Thompson was caught in the deep. Porterfield's run-out - for 72 from 60 balls - by the wicket-keeper proved the fatal blow.

Even then, Ireland needed only 13 from 10 balls but Max Sorensen, run out going for a second, and George Dockrell, bowled, were dismissed to the first two balls of the last over, Boyd Rankin failed to lay a bat on the next three and Tim Murtagh's attempt to hit the final ball for six to earn a Super Over ended in a tame single.

The squad return home tonight but leave next Wednesday for a training camp in Mohali.

Scores: UAE 133-7 (S Patil 31; B Rankin 3-17, M Sorensen 2-16) Ireland 128-9 (W Porterfield 72, P Stirling 28).

UAE won by 5 runs.

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