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March 26, 2009
Ireland, stung by two dispiriting defeats, finally got their act together with a six-wicket win over Afghanistan in a hastily-arranged practice match. The result will not only boost the Irish but will also dampen the considerable hype surrounding the Afghan side.
Much has been written about the Afghanistan team as a result of their three successive promotions which have put them into the World Cup Qualifiers, and they are likely to dominate media coverage in the opening stages, but on the evidence of this match they will struggle to continue their remarkable success.
They started well, reaching 69 for 2, but from then on they lost eight wickets for 17, being bowled out for 88 in 33.4 overs. Regan West, a last minute replacement for the game after Kyle McCallan failed a late fitness test on a chest injury, took 4 for 11 in 9 overs, Peter Connell 3 for 24 and Trent Johnston 2 for 21.
Ireland made heavy weather of chasing a small target, with the top order stumbling before Andrew Poynter hit an unbeaten 38 to steer them home.
Ireland's concerns are not behind them, however, and they need to show more consistency if they are to fulfil their tag as pre-tournament favourites. There remain doubts over the fitness of both Andre Botha and Kyle McCallan for the opening game with Scotland on Wednesday.
Ireland finish their warm up fixtures with a fixture against UAE in Pretoria on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Uganda beat Boland by 74 runs in Cape Town thanks to a 98-ball 88 from Joel Olwenyi. Uganda batted first and scored 218, and then Kenneth Kamyuka (4 for 17) ripped through Boland's top order. They were eventually bowled out for 144.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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