Porterfield and Balbirnie lead Ireland to second win over UAE

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Centuries from captain William Porterfield and Andrew Balbirnie helped Ireland beat the UAE for the second time in three days in their Tri-Series match.

Ireland had beaten the same opponents by four wickets on Thursday, and were comprehensive victors by 67 runs in Dubai to make it back-to-back successes in the series, which also features Scotland.

Porterfield hit 139 from 147 balls at the top of the order, adding 201 for the second wicket with Balbirnie, who was out for 102 from 109 deliveries as Ireland posted 301 for five from their 50 overs.

Kevin O’Brien then took four for 41 as the hosts came up well short, eventually being bowled out for 234 despite Rameez Shahzad’s half-century.

Medium pacer Barry McCarthy took 2-49 while Andy McBrine finished with figures of 2-40.

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UAE Under-16s off to winning start in the ACC Western Region tournament

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Job well done: Ansh Tandon (left)

UAE Under-16 skipper Aryan Lakra believes the eight-wicket victory over Oman on Monday will give them a lot of confidence going into the rest of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Western Region tournament.

The fixture had been delayed due to rain at Ajman’s Eden Gardens, forcing the game to be reduced from 35 to 23 overs. However, that did not stop the hosts comfortably reach their 102-run target in the 18th over with Ansh Tandon scoring a fluent 49.

The batsmen would have fancied their chances of reaching the target after Chathiya Dashan (1-7), Lakra (1-22) and Yuvraj Jaisingh (1-16) were among the wicket-takers for the UAE as Oman struggled to reach 101-5.

The UAE will again be on the field when they play Maldives at Sharjah on Tuesday. Another win will clinch top spot and a place in the semi-finals and Lakra believes the team will be raring to go after beating Oman.

“It feels great to win the first game and it will give us good momentum going into the upcoming games and hopefully we can carry this through for the rest of the tournament,” said the 14-year-old all-rounder.

“This game wasn’t much of a competition. Oman put on a good show but we were more stronger in all departments. The most important thing is that we won and we want to do it again against Maldives and book our place in the semi-finals.”

Despite the margin of the victory, Lakra says there’s still room for improvement if they want to go all the way and lift the trophy on Friday.

“I’m really happy with how we bowled but there are still some things that we want to improve on in the next game and try and get better.”

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UAE targeting Asian Cricket Council Under-16 Western Region title

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UAE coach Qasim Ali has challenged his team to go all the way and lift the Asian Cricket Council’s Western Region Under-16 title as the hosts open their campaign against Oman on Monday.

The UAE are one of six teams (Oman, Maldives, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) vying for the trophy in a competition that has already been postponed twice.

The 35-over tournament had been scheduled to be held in Kuwait in September but political unrest forced the ACC to move it to Thailand in November.

The event was later postponed with the ACC switching the venue to Sharjah and Ajman last month.

As hosts, the team, which will be led by all-rounder Aryan Lakra, will be familiar with home conditions and Ali is confident his players will rise to the occasion although he remains wary of the nations that stand in front of them.

“There’s obviously a lot of expectation to go and win it on home turf,” said Ali, who is also head of cricket development at ICC Academy.

“Whatever matches or tournament the UAE enters, they always want to win and play some competitive cricket. The fact that it’s in Sharjah will give a little bit of advantage but it all comes down to what happens on the day.

“As it’s such a short tournament anything can happen. We’re confident of our chances. We have to face Oman and the Maldives. Oman national team is a highly competitively side and I’m guessing the juniors will be very similar.

“The Maldives are an unknown quantity and we can’t take them lightly.”

Despite beginning their preparations with an intense training camp in June, Ali says the postponement will only have a positive impact on his side.

“It’s an advantage because you get more time to work with them,” he said. “To be honest, nobody really knows anything what to expect from the other sides in the Under-16 tournament.

“From our point of view, the lads have gone back to their own academies and have performed well in their domestic games and we are physically and mentally ready for this tournament.”

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