Porterfield and Stirling pulverised UAE with some fantastic strokeplay. © ICC

Porterfield and Stirling pulverised UAE with some fantastic strokeplay. © ICC

Ireland crushed United Arab Emirates by 226 runs and Windies beat Netherlands by 54 runs on Monday (March 12), with both match results being determined via the DLS method on a rainy day in Harare. The situation meant Windies, Ireland and UAE were through to the Super Six round of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.

Ireland v UAE

A huge opening stand of 205 runs between Paul Stirling and William Porterfield helped Ireland post a big total of 313 for 6 at Old Hararians ground. In response, being set a DLS revised target of 318 in 44 overs, UAE wilted under the pressure of a big chase, and collapsed to 91 all out in just 29.3 overs to suffer their second loss in four games. In the morning, rain had delayed the start of the match, and forced the umpires to reduce the contest to a 44-over-per side affair.

Sent to bat, Ireland dominated through the morning. Stirling racked up 126 off 117 balls and Porterfield hit 92 from 103 balls to rattle the UAE bowlers. The duo frustrated the opposition with their partnership, and even after Porterfield departed in the 35th over, caught by Adnan Mufti off the bowling of Imran Haider, UAE’s bowlers failed to create any pressure.

Kevin O’Brien, coming out at No. 3, smashed an unbeaten 50 off 26 balls with the help of seven boundaries and a six. Stirling went about his business with ease at the other end, notching up his sixth ODI century.

Stirling’s knock was studded with 15 fours and five sixes, and though he was one of the three late victims for Mohammad Naveed, the right-arm pacer, Ireland never let go off the advantage.

Chasing the steep target was always going to be a challenge, but the UAE batsmen were toppled quicker than expected. Only four batsmen were able to reach double figures, and Ghulam Shabber’s 19 off 40 balls was the best effort from the lot.

It was Boyd Rankin’s right-arm pace and Simi Singh’s off-spin that did most of the damage for Ireland, as the duo picked up seven wickets between themselves. The result eliminated Netherlands and Papua New Guinea from the race to the Super Six.

Netherlands v Windies

In another rain-affected game in Harare, a blistering performance from the Windies batsmen, led by Evin Lewis’s 84 off 92 balls, helped them post a massive 309 for 6 before reducing Netherlands to 167 for 6 in 28.4 overs when rain interrupted play. Windies were well ahead on the DLS charts and thus won the match. As a result, Windies finished the group stage with eight points, which handed them a top-of-the-table finish.

Sent in to bat, Windies rode on a blazing knock from Gayle (46 off 31 balls), who hit five sixes and two fours during his stay in the middle. Lewis was aggressive in his approach too, smashing six fours and four sixes on the day.

Marlon Samuels contributed with an unbeaten 73 off 84 balls to lend stability to the middle order, and he was assisted by Rovman Powell, who blasted a 38-ball 52 batting at No. 7.

With black clouds hovering over the venue throughout, Netherlands knew weather could play a part in the chase. They got off to a shaky start, losing Scott Edwards and Ben Cooper early in their pursuit.

Wesley Baressi (64 off 77 balls) and Ryan ten Doeschate (67 not out off 62 balls) tried to resist, but wickets falling hampered the scoring rate. When the heavens opened up for a strong bout of rain in the second dig, only 28.4 overs had been bowled but it was enough to determine a result.

Netherlands, who lost three batsmen to run outs during the contest, bowed out of the tournament with three defeats and a win in four games in the tournament.