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Stirling show seals Irish triumph

CRICKET: Paul Stirling was the star as Ireland ran out impressive winners of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier with a five-wicket victory over Afghanistan.

Having already qualified for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka with victory over Namibia on Saturday, the Irish - led by Stirling - crushed Afghanistan for an eyecatching victory.

His Man of the Match-winning 79 from 38 balls included three sixes and nine fours and took Ireland to victory by five wickets as they overhauled Afghanistan's imposing 152-7 with seven balls to spare.

"It was a knock to be put up there with the Chris Gayles and Virender Sehwags of this world," said Ireland coach Phil Simmons.

"Paul is maturing so nicely, we look forward to what he is going to produce in the finals in Sri Lanka. Overall, it was a very satisfying tournament.

"After losing to Namibia, we had to do it the hard way by winning 10 matches in a row, but our aim was always to win the competition -- not just qualify -- and we did that."

Ireland have avoided a rematch with England who they famously beat at last year's World Cup.

As losing finalists in Dubai, Afghanistan will be in the same group as England and India. Ireland take on Australia on September 19 and the West Indies five days later.

Taylor 'gutted' by Wilson death

DARTS: Multiple world champion Phil Taylor has paid tribute to double title holder Jocky Wilson, who died on Saturday.

Wilson, 62, who won world titles in 1982 and 1989, passed away at his home in Scotland after suffering from the lung disorder chronic pulmonary obstructive disease.

Taylor dedicated his UK Open qualifier victories to his former pairs partner Wilson. Taylor said: "That's for Jocky. He was my pairs partner for many years and I loved him to bits. I'm gutted."

Pacman: Taxman is harrassing me

BOXING: Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao says a criminal complaint against him by the Philippine tax bureau is "plain and simple harassment" and claims he has never shortchanged the government.

Watson walloped

TENNIS: World number one Victoria Azarenka put an emphatic end to British youngster Heather Watson's run at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Miami. It finished 6-0 6-2 to Azarenka, her 25th consecutive win in 2012.