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Ireland retains ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier crown in style

Wins third title by defeating Afghanistan by 68 runs after career-best knocks by Stirling and Johnston

Ireland retains ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier crown in style - Cricket News
Ireland team celebrate on the stage after its victory over Afghanistan.

Joins Zimbabwe in Group B of the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014, Afghanistan to face Bangladesh in tournament opener in Mirpur on 16 March

Afghanistan’s Samiullah Shenwari declared player of the tournament

Photo of the winning Ireland team is attached, please credit ‘2013 © IDI/Getty Images’; more rights-free photographs from UAE v Nepal and Ireland v Afghanistan matches  available here

SNTV to release VNRs of final and third/fourth play off

Ireland will join Zimbabwe in Group B of the first round of the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 after scoring the fourth highest total in Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket to defeat Afghanistan by 68 runs in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2013.

The defending champion lifted the trophy for the third time in four appearances after posting an imposing 225 for seven and then dismissing Afghanistan for 157 in 18.5 overs. In 2008, Ireland shared the trophy with the Netherlands, and then went on to win the 2012 tournament by defeating Afghanistan by five wickets in the final.

Former captain Trent Johnston was the star for Ireland after he smashed a career-best 32-ball 62 (five fours and four sixes) and then returned figures of three for 34 to walk away with the man of the match award.

Opener Paul Stirling was also in a punishing mood, clobbering eight fours and two sixes in a 43-ball 76 to help Ireland record the highest total of the tournament.

Stirling and Johnston put on 64 runs for the third wicket in just over five overs after the former had put on 68 runs for the first wicket with captain William Porterfield (27) and another 36 runs for the second wicket with Kevin O’Brien (20).

Hamza Hotak was the pick of the Afghanistan bowlers, claiming three for 39 runs.

Afghanistan started its run-chase as explosively as Ireland had, with Mohammad Shahzad hitting eight boundaries and one six in a rapid 38 and Gulbodin Naib scoring a quick-fire 19-ball 43. However, once Naib was dismissed, the Afghanistan batting faltered, and the side lost its last four wickets for 28 runs to be all out for 157 in the penultimate over.

Ireland captain William Porterfield was thrilled with his side’s victory. “It was a pretty convincing performance. We needed to get a good start with the bat after having won the toss and we managed to do that,” said Porterfield, adding: “We got good runs in the Powerplay and kept our run-rate high right from the start, which allowed batsmen coming later to play their game.

“But not taking anything away from them, they still had to strike the ball hard and cleanly, which we did till whole way down which was the key thing for us. Obviously, you don’t get over 220 every other game so it was a great performance from us with the bat and to back that up with the ball was great as well.”

The skipper said his side had achieved its principal target. “It was one of the goals we had set for ourselves when we came here - to win the tournament. We wanted to get to the final and obviously qualify along the way and winning the trophy for the third time is a great feat for us, so it’s great ticking all the boxes.”

Man of the match Johnston was delighted that an all-round team effort resulted in victory.  “We prepared pretty well, we knew we had tough opposition in Afghanistan, and even posting 220-odd, we knew we had to go out there and get wickets, and we knew they were going to come hard at us up top,  but we just managed to keep taking wickets throughout the innings,” he said.

Johnston said it was team effort that made Ireland a strong team.  “It’s great, it’s been a massive team effort, and I think that shows with our guys not winning player of the tournament – we’re not a one-man team.  If someone fails, someone else steps up to the plate, and we’ve consistently done that throughout the past six-seven years.  I think that’s the most pleasing thing out of the whole thing, it’s a hell of a team we’ve got in that dressing room.”

Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi remained philosophical about his side’s loss: “They played very well today, the wicket was very good for batting, and they did well and put up a very big total on the board so it was a bit of pressure for our boys. We started very well with the bat too in our first six overs but then we threw away our wickets early which put us under a lot of pressure.”

Afghanistan’s Samiullah Shenwari was declared Player of the Tournament. Samiullah was the second highest wicket taker of the tournament and one of only four players to claim a five-for (five for 13), picking up three Man of the Match awards during the tournament.

The delighted all-rounder said: “I am thankful to God and really happy to win this award, we had worked really hard for this tournament.  Unfortunately we did not bowl too well and the Ireland batsmen did well to put up a huge score. The pitch was good to bat on and we tried our best in our bowling but it did not work. Right from the beginning, they played well.”

In the third/fourth place play-off played earlier in the day, Nepal recorded a last-gasp victory over the United Arab Emirates to finish third in the tournament.

Chasing 131 for victory, Nepal was always behind the required run-rate.  Opener Subash Khakurel crafted a patient knock of 38, but it was an unbeaten 29-ball 43 by Sharad Vesawkar that led Nepal to victory. The 25-year-old struck two sixes in the last over to surpass the required total of 132 with four balls to spare.

Kamran Shahzad (two for 22) was the pick of the UAE bowlers.

Earlier, the UAE posted 131 from its 20 overs, with Abdul Shakoor (28) Rohan Mustafa (24), Shaiman Anwar (24) and Swapnil Patil (22 not out) the main contributors. Nepal’s Basant Regmi took the bowling honours for the day, claiming three of the first four wickets to finish with four for 16 runs.

Nepal skipper Paras Khadka was thrilled with the result.  “It was an amazing finish for us and Sharad has been doing really well for us. Basant bowled well and actually the bowlers set it up really nicely for us. We are pretty happy as we came into the tournament as underdogs.”

However, Khadka said the team will go straight back to training in order to prepare for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2014 and the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014.

“Now as the tournament is over, we are looking ahead to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand in January, so it is back to the board again. We need to sort out what we need to work upon and try and keep improving.

“We have to work in all the areas. We are going to a higher level now; we will be playing against the best of the teams in the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. So we need to improve on all factors and believe in ourselves believe in our ability and move forward”

For full match reports from each of today’s matches, please click here.

At Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi – Match 71 (Third-fourth play-off)

UAE 131-5, 20 overs (Abdul Shakoor 28, Rohan Mustafa 24, Shaiman Anwar 24, Swapnil Patil 22 not out; Basant Regmi 4-16)

Nepal 133-5, 19.2 overs (Sharad Vesawkar 43 not out, Subash Khakurel 38; Kamran Shahzad 2-22)

Result: Nepal won by five wickets

Man of the Match: Basant Regmi (Nepal)

At Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi – Match 72 (Final)

Ireland 225-7, 20 overs (Paul Stirling 76, Trent Johnston 62, William Porterfield 27, Kevin O'Brien 20; Hamza Hotak 3-39, Shapoor Zadran 2-36)

Afghanistan 157 all out, 18.5 overs (Gulbodin Naib 43, Mohammad Shahzad 38, Merwais Ashraf 22; Trent Johnston 3-34, Alex Cusack 2-18, Tim Murtagh 2-24, George Dockrell 2-37)

Result: Ireland won by 68 runs

Man of the Match: Trent Johnston (Ireland)

 Final standings:

Position

Team

1st

Ireland

2nd

Afghanistan

3rd

Nepal

4th

UAE

5th 

Netherlands

6th 

Hong Kong

7th 

Scotland

8th

Papua New Guinea

9th 

Italy

10th 

Namibia

11th 

Kenya

12th 

Canada

13th 

Uganda

14th 

Bermuda

15th 

United States

16th 

Denmark

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