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March 18, 2013
Ireland 169 for 5 (Wilson 72*) beat UAE 165 (Patil 65, Cusack 3-21) by five wickets
Gary Wilson allayed Irish fears of playing spin in Asian conditions with a composed half-century to bring Ireland home in their opening World Cricket League Championship match of this tour.
Ireland are looking to secure top spot in the table, and gain automatic qualification for the 2015 World Cup. This was an important win against a rival for qualification. It nearly didn't happen, as Ireland crumbled against the off-spin of Nasir Aziz, who took three wickets. They slumped to 107 for 5, and were looking to the lower order to see them to their modest target of 166.
The opening wicket also fell to spin as Shadeep Silva's left-arm orthodox had Paul Stirling top-edging an attempted lofted drive. Aziz then got to work, beating Will Porterfield in flight, to have him bowled, and getting Ed Joyce to drag on. And when Niall O'Brien was run out, Ireland had lost 3 for 9, and at 51 for 4 were in deep trouble.
Wilson began the recovery. He took 14 balls to get off the mark, and played carefully, working singles and punishing bad deliveries. Aside from three two's and a three, Wilson scored exclusively in singles and fours - of which he struck 10. His stand of 56 with Kevin O'Brien gave Ireland a chance, and a further 62-run stand with John Mooney secured victory.
"I didn't have too much trouble playing Aziz, He's got the doosra but it's pretty easy to see in the hand." Wilson said. "It was just a matter of batting. Even at four down, we still wanted to play attacking cricket. They had the field up so it was easier to hit over the top to get off strike rather than trying to push singles."
Ireland had earlier enjoyed their own success with the spinning ball as Sterling claimed three wickets with his off-spin, although he did concede almost five an over. But the medium pace of Alex Cusack starred. His 3 for 21 included Shaiman Anwar who was well set on 35 and Swapnil Patil who top-scored with 65.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Coloured clothes, black sightscreens, two white balls: the game of cricket looked so different in 1992. But writing about it now seems more fun than watching it then