Ireland 228 for 6 (Campher 56, Singh 54*, Zahoor 3-35) beat United Arab Emirates 116 (Farid 28, Singh 5-10) by 112 runs
Allrounder Simi Singh hit a half-century and then delivered one of the most economical five-wicket hauls in ODI history as Ireland demolished UAE by 112 runs in the fourth ODI in Abu Dhabi. Ireland's win means the series that had two games cancelled finished as a 1-1 draw.
Although Ireland comfortably won, they started the game on the back foot after being asked to bat by UAE. The UAE pacers Zahoor Khan and Kashif Daud shared three wickets inside the first five overs to reduce Ireland to 10 for 3, but a 72-run fourth-wicket stand between Harry Tector (33) and Lorcan Tucker (42) set the ball rolling for a recovery.
After Tector and Tucker fell in quick succession before the 30-over mark, the No. 6 Curtis Campher hit a 72-ball 56 in the company of No. 7 Singh, who struck 54 in 57 balls, to lead Ireland to a total in excess of 200. Gareth Delany's eight-ball cameo of 15 at the end meant Ireland eventually finished on 228 for 6 after 50 overs.
That total will have been particularly pleasing for Ireland's management given the three men who fell early on were their most experienced batsmen in Paul Stirling, Kevin O'Brien and captain Andy Balbirnie. The side is gradually transitioning away from the so-called 'golden generation' that helped win Test status, and performances by the youthful middle order will have vindicated that shift.
UAE began the second innings well, and looked on course to chase the total down as openers Zafar Farid (28) and Vriitya Aravind (18) put on a 46-run opening stand. But Singh's right-arm offspin then tore through the UAE top order after being introduced at first change.
Farid was first to go when he swept Singh to Delany in the deep in the 10th over. Four overs later, Chundangapoyil Rizwan hit Singh straight to Craig Young at long-on, and the fielder was in play again soon after when Aravind found long-on again in the 16th.
Basil Hameed then edged a cut off Singh to the wicketkeeper, and when Muhammad Usman was trapped lbw in the 22nd over, Singh had his maiden ODI five-wicket haul with UAE collapsing from 46 for no loss to 64 for 5. Singh eventually finished his spell with figures of 5 for 10, an economy of 1.0 for the match.
With the UAE lower order now exposed, the other Ireland bowlers got among the wickets. O'Brien had Rohan Mustafa caught behind while Andy McBrine and Delany removed the tailenders. Two run-outs didn't help UAE's cause either as they crept past 100 but eventually were all out for 116 in 36 overs.
"It's just one of those days where everything clicked with the bat and the ball," Singh said. "I'm obviously really happy with that, and it's great to level the series as well. The batting plan was quite simple: we just had to bat the 50 overs. I had a chat with Curtis and the plan was just to take the game as deep as we could and then explode at the end.
"Bowling-wise, the plan was quite simple: just to bowl as many dots as I can. I got a couple of wickets early and just found a good rhythm."
Balbirnie hailed his team's ability to scrap up towards par after a poor start. "Losing three quick wickets was a big setback but the way Lorcan and Harry dug in and got through the tough period on a tough wicket was brilliant," he said. "To get to 230 was brilliant from where we were.
"They started well on a pitch that didn't offer too much for our seamers. For Simi to come in having not played in the first game and bowl like he did was exceptional. The control he had and the accuracy and the wicket-taking ability - it was an absolute joy to watch him in full flow and he deserves all the plaudits."
Ireland stay on in the UAE now to take on Afghanistan in three ODIs starting January 21. Those games will be part of the ODI World Cup Super League, the pathway tournament set to select the teams for the 2023 World Cup.
Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo