O’Brien stars but Ireland lose T20I series to UAE

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Kevin O’Brien scored a half-century but it as not enough for Ireland as they fell to the United Arab Emirates for the third game in as many tests.

The series was played in preparation for the upcoming T20I World Cup – Ireland’s campaign begins on Monday, October 18 when they face the Netherlands.

The visitors batted first and started strongly but were reeled in by Rohan Mustafa, who encountered a purple patch.

The UAE did not look back after this and powered through to win by seven wickets with 23 balls remaining, with Muhammad Waseem registering a century for the side.

Ireland had started 76-0 before Mustafa brought his side back into it with the reliable duo of Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien.

The bowler started his tenure on the field by catching Stirling’s hit to send the Irishman walking after just three balls against Mustafa.

The stand ended in the 13th over at 85, the 12th partnership above 50 in T20Is between O’Brien and Stirling.

In men’s cricket, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill and Scotland’s George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer are the only pairs with as many, and no duo has more.

Mustafa bowled out Gareth Delany in the next over, setting the tone for a strong UAE comeback.

O’Brien brought up his half-century in the 15th over but he was the next to fall as Mustafa beat his attempted loft.

Curtis Campher began his at-bat inventively, playing a reverse lap sweep for four off his first ball.

However, that shot was Ireland’s sole boundary in the last 10 overs of their innings as their impressive start could not be sustained.

Waseem led his side to victory with an unbeaten 107 to seal a 3-0 series win for the hosts in Dubai.

Graham Ford’s side end the series without a win and will now face Papua New Guinea in a two-game warmup series before taking part in the T20I World Cup.

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