Big-hitting Kevin O’Brien hammered 50 off 25 balls to get Ireland back on track and eke out a two-wicket win over the UAE with four balls to spare.
The UAE presented the Irish with a challenging target of 279, thanks to the first World Cup and second ODI hundred for UAE, 106 off 83 by Shaiman Anwar, and a World Cup-record seventh-wicket partnership between Anwar and Amjad Javed of 107 in 11.5 overs.
Then they attacked with determination, reducing Ireland to 97-4 and then 171-5, but they wilted in the face of the onslaught from O’Brien and Gary Wilson and let themselves down with sloppy fielding.
They had more than their fair share of misfortune, too. Ed Joyce was ‘bowled’ by Javed, but the heavy LED bail, which lights up when touched, dropped back into its groove.
Then O’Brien was dropped by the substitute fielder, Nasir Aziz, who managed to parry the ball for four over him.
This drop of O’Brien was to prove costly as he went on to demoralise the attack. He hit eight fours and two sixes, but everything bowled to him was a candidate for being hit. By the time he fell to a slower ball from Javed, the equation had come down to 36 off 32.
We’ll target McCullum’s ‘brain explosion’, says Warner
Brendon McCullum is a man who can take the game away, but he is also prone to ‘brain explosions’, says David Warner
The combative Aussie batsman fired the opening shots in the mindgame war before the two teams meet on Saturday at Eden Park. They are both in line to top Pool A.
‘If our bowlers bowl the right line and lengths we’ll get him out. He’s a player who can come down the wicket, use the off side well. We’ve got to back our strengths. If we bowl well to him, we’ll create the pressure and he’ll have a brain explosion.’
Warner is looking forward to a rough reception at a sold-out Eden Park. ‘I hope they come out and boo us and give us cr*p like they always do,’ he said. ‘That’s what’s going to happen. We love it, it gets us up and going, gets the adrenaline going for sure.’
Wayward Chatara gets reprimand
Zimbabwe seamer Tendai Chatara was reprimanded by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday for bowling two successive dangerous deliveries at West Indies record breaker Chris Gayle in their World Cup clash.
Chatara was hauled out of the attack in the 50th over after he bowled a second consecutive high, full-pitched ball to Gayle. He was reported for dangerous and unfair bowling.
‘I took into account the mitigating factor of the wet ball which could have resulted in the bowler not being able to have complete control of the deliveries,’ said match referee Roshan Mahanama.
Sri Lanka lose Jeevan Mendis
Jeevan Mendis will play no further role in the World Cup, said captain Angelo Mathews, after the allrounder had sustained a mild-to-moderate inner hamstring muscle injury at training.
The team had originally hoped the injury would only keep Mendis out for about 10 days, but scans have since shown the damage to be more severe than initially estimated. Sri Lanka have flown out Upul Tharanga to take Mendis’ place.
Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya said he is unlikely to play against Bangladesh on Thursday.
Scotland, Afghanistan play for bragging rights
Scotland and Afghanistan are each targeting a first-ever Cricket World Cup victory when they meet in Dunedin on Thursday.
Afghanistan looked a realistic prospect of upsetting Sri Lanka last weekend when they reduced the former world champions to 51-4 before a Mahela Jayawardene century consigned them to a four-wicket defeat, while Scotland gave co-hosts New Zealand some nervous moments when they took seven wickets as the Black Caps, one of the tournament favourites, chased a paltry 143-run target.
Both of the Associate nations have now lost two from two in their Pool A matches and have virtually no chance of reaching the quarterfinals, making a maiden victory their major goal for the tournament.