Saturday, January 9, 2021

Ireland v UAE: Sunday’s ODI in Abu Dhabi off after hosts have positive Covid case

Ireland v UAE: Sunday's ODI in Abu Dhabi off after hosts have positive Covid case

Paul Stirling’s century was the highlight of the Zayed Cricket Stadium game

Ireland’s second one-day game in their four-match series against United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi on Sunday has been postponed after a player from the host side tested positive for Covid-19.

The series will now resume on Tuesday with the remaining games taking place on Thursday and Saturday.

The hosts clinched a six-wicket win in Friday’s opener despite a century from Ireland vice-captain Paul Stirling.

After the UAE series, Ireland face Afghanistan in World Cup qualifiers.

Those three World Cup Super League games will also take place in Abu Dhabi.

The dates for the Ireland-Afghanistan games were also adjusted last week because of the delayed arrival of the Afghanistan squad and quarantine regulations.

The series was scheduled to begin on 18 January but will now instead start three days later following a request by the Afghanistan Cricket Board with the remaining games taking place on 24 and 26 January.

“We have both agreed the safest course of action is to postpone the second ODI scheduled for tomorrow. We hope to play this match on the 16th of January, all going well,” said Cricket Ireland’s high performance director Richard Holdsworth on Saturday.

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie
Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie said he was “hugely disappointing” with Friday’s defeat by UAE

Improvement required – Balbirnie

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie says improvement is required after Friday’s disappointing defeat when the shots chased down their target of 269-5 to win with six balls to spare after reaching 270-4.

“We’re hugely disappointed – we could have put more pressure on them in the middle overs in the field,” said Balbirnie.

The Ireland skipper hit 53 and and felt his dismissal, when the Irish were 141, gave the hosts “a bit of momentum”.

“They batted really well at the back end and put our bowlers under pressure. The bowlers are going to learn and that’s all we can ask,” he added.

“There were some good things and we’ll take that forward too. Paul’s knock is a huge positive, Curtis Campher was really good with the ball and Barry McCarthy up top always seems to have the knack of taking wickets.”

Early wickets

Ireland reduced UAE to 51-3 but a record partnership of 184 between Chundangapoyil Rizwan and Muhammaed Usman secured victory.

“There’s no excuses for it although that was our first game since we played England in August,” said Ireland paceman Mark Adair.

“It was nice to get some game-time, to get back out in the middle. It wasn’t a car-crash performance and if we were just 5% better we would have walked the game.

“The onus is now on us as players to perform better and a make sure we leave nothing to chance.”

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