Dockrell stars in Ireland victory
Ireland, Scotland, USA and Afghanistan all warmed up for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers with victories
With the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers starting next week the teams are now all in the UAE preparing for the tournament with a series of warm-up matches
Left-arm spinner George Dockrell made a strong case for a place in the Ireland starting XI with 4 for 20 to help secure an 11-run victory against Canada at Sharjah. In a low-scoring match Ireland prevailed thanks to the efforts of Dockrell and Alex Cusack as the pair shared seven wickets in a successful defence of 138. Canada made a positive start to the chase and reached 53 for 1 in the seventh over before Dockrell claimed the key scalp of John Davison and from there the innings fell away. Ireland's batsmen had also struggled after a brisk opening stand between William Porterfield and Niall O'Brien and it needed Kevin O'Brein's sensible 28 from 23 balls to steer them to a defendable total.
Scotland continued their preparations with a 16-run win against Kenya at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium with Gavin Hamilton hitting a valuable 58 from 51 balls to lift his side to a competitive 149 for 6. However, the important late impetus came from Richie Berrington who clubbed 18 off six balls alongside Jan Stander's five-ball 14 as the last two overs brought 33 runs. Berrington then starred with the ball, too, by claiming 3 for 17 from his four overs after Kenya had made a rapid start to the chase. Steve Tikolo raced to 25 as Kenya scored at more than 10-an-over, but Majid Haq's introduction changed the game when he had Tikolo caught behind. Haq claimed two further wickets later on in an impressive performance while Kyle Coetzer also played a key role with 2 for 21.
Timroy Allen hit an unbeaten 57 off 26 balls to give USA a timely boost as he carried the team to a one-wicket, final-over victory against hosts UAE at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. USA appeared to heading for defeat as they slumped to 119 for 9 chasing 142 with 16 balls remaining, but Allen dominated the scoring as No. 11 Imran Awan hung in for 1 off four deliveries and in the end USA won with four balls to spare. However, the effort of USA's top order will be a concern heading into the qualifying tournament as will the three run outs in the middle order. Three wickets apiece for Awan and Lennox Cush restricted UAE as they were bowled out with one ball remaining. Saqib Ali top-scored with 47 off 43 balls.
Afghanistan brushed aside an Emirates Islamic Bank Invitation XI by 39 runs at Sharjah after an electrifying opening stand of 72 in seven overs between captain Nowroz Mangal and Asghar Stanikzai. Mangal dominated the scoring with a powerful 55 from 26 balls which included five fours and four sixes while Stanikzai also managed three sixes before retiring. Mohammad Shahzad (27 off 15) and Raees Ahmadzai (26 off 11) provided the middle-order punch as they added 53 in four overs as Afghanistan reached an imposing 190 for 9. The Invitation XI made a decent fist of the chase as Faizan Asif launched three sixes, but the rate was always out of reach. Khurram Shehzad narrowed the margin of defeat with a well made 61 as seven Afghanistan bowlers were given their chance with Mohammad Nabi the most impressive.