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Simmons so angry despite Ireland victory

By Ian Callender

Ireland coach Phil Simmons may have been delighted at his side moving one match closer to the next World Cup after their five wicket win over the UAE in Sharjah, but it did not stop him voicing his anger at the lackadaisical start to their innings.

Chasing a modest 165, Ireland slumped to 51 for four with irresponsible shots the one constant in the wickets that fell in the first 11 overs.

The positive that surely must be taken though is that, despite no significant contribution from their top four batsmen, Ireland still beat a team which had won their four previous home games in the competition – against Scotland and Afghanistan.

The reason for Simmons' displeasure can be put down to the rarity of the occasion. Apart from a couple of instances in Twenty20 games, Ireland's top four just do not fail together when they win.

The last time it happened in a one-day game was four years ago, in Ireland's final Friends Provident game at Worcester, when they lost their first four for 38. But that was batting first, with the ball moving around.

Incredibly, this was the first time Simmons has watched his top four go cheaply when successfully chasing a target in a one-day game – a total of 27 matches.

John Mooney, who stayed with Gary Wilson to see the team home with eight overs to spare, reported that opening batsmen William Porterfield and Paul Stirling had held their hands up in the post-match team meeting for "putting the team in a bit of a hole".

Mooney said: "But we fought back brilliantly and showed our strength in depth. There's an awful lot of caps in the middle."

• THE Strabane committee last night ratified the deal that will bring Decker Curry to Strabane Park this season.

Rumours that the Red Caps had signed the former Ireland international from Limavady have been rife for the last couple of days.

All the Limavady 1st XI squad have been available for transfer following the club's dramatic decision last month to quit senior cricket but Curry, despite being 46 years of age, remains one of the biggest names in North West cricket.

The holder of the record number of centuries in the province is the second major signing by Strabane this winter after they snapped up Ireland opening bowler Peter Connell from CIYMS.

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