Gary Wilson anchored Ireland's chase to help them narrowly beat a resolute United Arab Emirates by two wickets in their World Cup 2015 Group B match played in Brisbane on Wednesday.
Ireland's captain William Porterfield had earlier won the toss and elected to bowl first, but UAE's batsmen refused to give-in without a fight.
It took 12 overs for Ireland to break the 43-run opening stand between Amjad Ali and Andri Berenger. An over later Krishna Chandran fell as well. The double-blow put added pressure on UAE.
Khurram Khan and Ali then added 20 for the fourth wicket before Ireland struck twice in quick-succession again. This time Ali and Swapnil Patel fell. Their dismissal brought Shaiman Anwar to the crease. Anwar and Khan began rebuilding the innings and added 47 runs for the fifth wicket.
Khan's departure in the 32nd over brought Amjad Javed and Anwar together and the duo added 107 runs for the seventh wicket to expose Ireland's ordinary death bowling. Anwar scored his first ODI hundred off just 79 balls. He hit ten fours and one six in his innings and helped his side post a commendable 278 in their 50 overs.
UAE's bowlers defended their target with passion and precision to have Ireland down at 97 for 4 and 171 for 5 at on stage. But they wilted in the face of the onslaught from Kevin O'Brien and Wilson and dropped several catches.
O'Brien had joined Wilson with 108 required off 68 balls and Wilson on 43 off 46. The duo took on UAE's bowlers from the start and the first ball O'Brien faced he muscled it to mid-off. The second he pulled away for four.
O'Brien was dismissed in the 45th over for a quick fire 50 and Wilson in the 48th over for 80. The momentum they had built through their innings helped Ireland reach the target with four balls to spare.
"I've batted a lot with Kev, both at the county and the international level, and we dovetailed well together. We want four wins, all we can do is take each game as it comes," Wilson said after he was named Man of the Match.