Tuesday 17 January 2017

O'Brien guides Ireland to victory

Published 15/02/2016 | 02:30

Ireland's Kevin O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland's Kevin O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

Kevin O'Brien played a key role with both bat and ball as Ireland continued their warm-up for next month's World T20 with a 34-run victory over the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi.

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O'Brien found himself walking out to bat with Ireland on 19-4 after another top-order failure but he quickly steadied the ship, adding 55 for the fifth wicket with brother Niall, who top-scored with 38 from 29 balls, including a six and two fours.

The younger O'Brien was more circumspect, needing the same number of balls for his 23 before the fast-bowling trio of Max Sorensen, Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin all cleared the boundary in a flurry of 44 runs from the final four overs that lifted Ireland to a still modest 134-8.

"It was important for Niall and I to consolidate a little after the early wickets," O'Brien said. "He was batting really well and striking the ball nicely, When your partner is batting like that, it's best to give him as much strike as I could. He played a great knock."

Early blows by Craig Young, Murtagh and Rankin saw the UAE also lose four wickets in their powerplay and O'Brien ensured there was no recovery by taking 3-14 in four tidy overs of medium pace and the home side were dismissed for exactly 100.

Meanwhile, former Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan became the first international captain to lose a five-match ODI series after taking a 2-0 lead, when South Africa beat England by five wickets with six overs to spare in Cape Town to complete a stunning comeback.

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