O'Brien shines as Irish close on victory
Published 09/09/2011 | 05:00
Ireland will return to Stormont this morning needing a further 38 runs to beat Namibia and wrap up a maximum-points victory in their first InterContinental Cup qualifier of the 2011-13 campaign.
After dismissing Namibia for 226 in their second innings in Belfast, Ireland made a fist of chasing down 173 to win in the final session, but had only reached 135-4 when stumps were pulled. Paul Stirling blazed eight fours and a six as he raced to 53 from 44 balls, before missing a straight one and departing LBW.
Alex Cusack and Andrew Poynter maintained the momentum, but when both fell to spin, the home side weighed the risk of losing more wickets in failing light against the chance of rain denying them on the final day and sensibly erred on the side of caution.
Ireland had chipped away at the Namibia second innings, led by skipper Kevin O'Brien, who took a smart diving catch off John Mooney to remove opener Stephanus Ackermann for a painstaking seven from 63 balls.
George Dockrell had Craig Williams caught down the leg side for 40 and Ireland sensed victory when a great delivery from Mooney nipped back to bowl top scorer Christi Viljoen for 87.
A two-wicket burst from O'Brien saw off Gerrie Snyman and Louis van der Westhuizen, before a Dockrell double and two sharp run-outs ended the Africans' innings on the stroke of tea.
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