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Ireland edge UAE in World Cup thriller

Published:Thursday | February 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM

BRISBANE, Australia (AP):

Gary Wilson struck 80 runs from 69 balls in a defiant late innings to help Ireland edge the United Arab Emirates by two wickets yesterday in a World Cup match that was finely balanced until the last over.

In the unfamiliar position of being the favourite in a World Cup match following their opening upset win over the West Indies, Ireland won the toss, sent the UAE in to bat and had them in trouble at 78-4, before Shaiman Anwar came to the rescue with his maiden one-day international (ODI) century to lift the total to 278-9.

The Irish never appeared completely comfortable in reply after losing Paul Stirling (3) in the second over, but remained cool enough to eventually reach 279-8 with four balls to spare after key contributions from Wilson and Kevin O'Brien (50).

"I was confident going out there," Wilson said. "It was obviously closer than we wanted it to be, definitely ... (but) we're two from two, that's all we could ask."

In the time since their opening four-wicket win on February 16 at Nelson, New Zealand, Ireland were idle while the two-time champions West Indies rebounded with wins over Pakistan and Zimbabwe.

The UAE were the last of the 14 teams to get their Cup campaign under way, losing by four wickets to Zimbabwe last week after getting themselves into a strong position to win. It was a similar plot for the UAE in Brisbane, where the group of part-timers and semi-professionals couldn't quite get across the line.

Career high

Anwar scored an ODI career-high 106 from 83 balls and shared a 107-run partnership with Amjad Javed, who hit 42 from 35 balls and later returned to take three wickets and a crucial catch.

William Porterfield (37) and Ed Joyce (37) put on 68 for the second wicket for Ireland, but had some luck along the way. Joyce got a massive reprieve when Javed beat him with a full in-swinging ball that grazed his off stump and moved, but didn't dislodge the bail. He was also dropped when he hit a sharp return chance to Mohammad Tauqir and was lucky not to be run out before he was eventually caught behind off Javed for 37.

"Sometimes the bails come off, sometimes they don't," Javed said. "I've seen that, but never with me."