Ireland secure World Twenty20 spot
Published 19/07/2015 | 21:13
Ireland secured their place at next year's World Twenty20 in India after beating Jersey by seven wickets at Malahide.
Paul Stirling claimed three wickets before blasting a half-century in the resounding victory.
Middlesex all-rounder Stirling was one of three Irish bowlers to claim a trio of scalps, along with Alex Cusack and John Mooney, who finished off the tail with a hat-trick, as Jersey slumped from 106 for two to 122 all out.
Stirling then did most of the damage with the bat as Ireland responded to defeats by Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong to top Group A.
At the moment of victory, Ireland's passage to the tournament was not certain, and a play-off place was a possible avenue they would have to go down.
However rivals Namibia and Papua New Guinea both later lost, to Hong Kong and the United States respectively, and Ireland's automatic qualification was confirmed.
Ireland captain William Porterfield said: "We are delighted to have topped the group and made it through to the next qualifying phase in India.
"It's not the way we would have liked to have done it by relying on other results. However we turned in a very solid performance today, and we'll take a lot of momentum and confidence from that going into the finals weekend."
Ireland had appeared set for another tricky day when Jersey's top order made hay in guiding them to 88 for one after 13 overs.
However, once Stirling arrived to pin the dangerous Jonty Jenner lbw for 26, Jersey collapsed in remarkable fashion.
Stirling returned three for 16 and Cusack claimed three for 26 before three slower balls from Mooney in the closing stages were not picked up to give him three for 20.
Captain Peter Gough top-scored for Jersey with 42, but only the first four batsman made double figures as they lost their final seven wickets in the space of 26 balls.
In reply, Stirling put on partnerships of 44 and 47 with William Porterfield (17) and Andy Balbirnie (32 not out) before falling for 55 having accrued seven fours and a six.
Although Kevin O'Brien fell for just eight, Balbirnie and Gary Wilson then saw Ireland home with 20 balls to spare.