Ireland polish off UAE in quick time to go joint top
Craig Young needed less than an over to wrap up an innings and 26 runs victory over the United Arab Emirates at Malahide yesterday and send Ireland joint top of the InterContinental Cup table with Namibia after their opening matches.
The fourth ball of the final day was ballooned to cover, where George Dockrell took the catch to give Young his third wicket of the innings and decent match figures of 7-110 on a largely unresponsive surface. Left-arm spinner Dockrell's return was 7-141.
Far tougher opponents lie ahead for Ireland, who are looking to win the IC Cup for the fifth time in six editions and in doing so qualify for the 'Test Challenge' - a series of games, home and away, against the lowest-ranked ICC Full Member that could lead to Test status in 2018.
But new coach John Bracewell will be pleased with maximum points from his first game in charge and can now focus on the three-match T20 series against Scotland at Bready, Co Tyrone starting on June 18 and the World T20 qualifiers which Ireland co-host in July.
Malahide, meanwhile, remains the centre of attention today with Irish Cup holders The Hills the visitors in the second round.
It is a clash between two teams who went in opposite directions at the end of last season.
The Villagers have found the going tough in Division One and are still without a win, while The Hills have won all three starts in Division Two and knocked out North Down in the first round of the Irish Cup.
YMCA beat Merrion by seven wickets in the opening league game and the defending champions will be favourites to repeat their success in the cup today.
The other four Leinster teams left in the competition are also at home, with Clontarf, North County and Pembroke hosting North West visitors Strabane, Bready and Ardmore respectively, while Leinster host NCU Section One team Muckamore.
Co Galway, given the go-ahead to take their place in the second round, with Terenure professional Ben Speake in the team, were unable to find a ground in Dublin so they have agreed to travel north for their game against 2011 winners Waringstown.
Meanwhile, former England international Craig Kieswetter (27) has retired from cricket after failing to recover from a serious eye injury sustained last summer.