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February 22, 2012
Ireland 109 for 4 (K O'Brien 30*) beat Kenya 107 (Mishra 34, Dockrell 3-15) by six wickets
Ireland marked their inclusion in the Twenty20 international rankings table with a comprehensive six-wicket victory against Kenya in Mombasa at the start of a three-match series. George Dockrell, the left-arm spinner, starred with 3 for 15 before Kevin O'Brien eased Ireland across the line with more than four overs to spare.
This was Ireland's eighth Twenty20 international since August 2009 which meant they had qualified for a ranking position and they went straight in above Zimbabwe at 10th place. A whitewash in this series will see them climb another spot, above Afghanistan, into ninth ahead of the World Twenty20 Qualifiers which take place in the UAE next month.
These matches form a crucial part of Ireland's preparation for that qualifying tournament. With just two teams out of 16 progressing to the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka there will be tight competition for the coveted top slots.
Dockrell will have a key role to play in Ireland's campaign and he put his team on course for this victory after taking two wickets with the new ball as Kenya slipped to 11 for 3 in the fourth over. The one substantial partnership came between Tanmay Mishra and Ragheb Aga, as they added 48 for the fourth wicket, but from there Kenya lost their last six wickets for 24 runs.
Ireland's chase began in jittery and slightly unusual fashion. The first ball from Shem Ngoche went for five wides, then he conceded another wide before William Porterfield was run out off the first legitimate delivery to leave Ireland 7 for 1 after one ball.
They moved briskly to 34, then lost Paul Stirling and Alex Cusack in quick succession to open the prospect of a Kenya fightback. However, as he had in the Intercontinental Cup and 50-over matches, Ed Joyce used his experience to make a calm 24 before giving legspinner Collins Oboya a return catch. Unlike Kenya, there was no collapse from Ireland as O'Brien and John Mooney knocked off the last 36 runs in three overs.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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