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O’Brien brothers star for Ireland

Chasing 135 for victory, UAE goes down by 34 runs in first Twenty20 International

O’Brien brothers star for Ireland - Cricket News
Niall O'Brien and Kevin O'Brien joined hands to help Ireland pull off a comprehensive 34-run victory over United Arab Emirates
O’Brien brothers Niall and Kevin joined hands to help Ireland pull off a comprehensive 34-run victory over United Arab Emirates in the first match of a two-game Twenty20 International series.
 
At the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday (February 14), the two came together with Ireland struggling on 19 for 4 after being put in by Amjad Javed, and added 55 for the fifth wicket to set the tone for its final tally of 134 for 8.
 
UAE was never in the hunt after losing its openers inside the first nine deliveries of its chase with just 8 runs on the board, and was shot out for 100 in the final over, Kevin O’Brien finishing with 3 for 14 from his four overs.
 
Ireland made a decent enough start through William Porterfield, the captain, and Paul Stirling, but once Porterfield was run out in the third over with 12 on the board, it lost 4 for 7 in 18 deliveries, requiring Niall and Kevin to steady the rocking boat. While Kevin was watchful in making 23 off 29, Niall was the more enterprising, slamming two fours and a six on his way to a 29-ball 38. Another mini collapse left it in danger of folding up for less than 100 when Max Sorensen provided the final thrust, weighing in with 26 off 15 deliveries and Boyd Rankin smashed a four and a six apiece in an unbeaten 16 off nine deliveries.
 
Amjad was UAE’s most successful bowler, but his three wickets from four overs cost him 41 runs.
 
Ireland was always in command after Tim Murtagh packed off Mohammad Shahzad in the first over and Rohan Mustafa fell to Craig Young in the next over of the chase. Shaiman Anwar battled on to top score with 24, but no other UAE batsman touched 20 as Ireland continued to strike at regular intervals and ensure that the highest partnership of the innings was only 21, for the eighth wicket.
 
While Kevin O’Brien led the bowling charts, support was forthcoming from Murtagh (2/20), Young (2/26) and Rankin (2/16).
 
The teams will play the second T20I at the same venue on Tuesday.

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