Ireland avoid England in World T20

Published Saturday, 24 March 2012
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Ireland will not have to face England in the group stages of the ICC World Twenty20 after they beat Afghanistan in the final qualifying tournament.

Ireland avoid England in World T20
Kevin O'Brien of Ireland in action against Namibia in Dubai (© Getty)

The Irish won by five wickets on Saturday to join Australia and the West Indies in Group B for the competition in Sri Lanka this September.

Chasing 153 to win, Paul Stirling hit the second-fastest half-century in T20 international history for Ireland, from only 17 deliveries. His 79 helped the team home with seven balls to spare.

Defeat would have seen them placed in Group A alongside defending champions England and India.

The win follows Friday's nine-wicket victory over Namibia.

Ireland cruised to victory and restricted Namibia to just 94 for six, and then knocked off the required runs from 61 balls to reach the final of the qualifying tournament.

Ireland had lost by four runs to Namibia in the group stage of this competition, but Saturday's result rarely looked in much doubt as Ireland knocked off almost a quarter of the required score in the first two overs.

They could not quite match their own achievement of twice chasing down targets without losing a wicket in this tournament as William Porterfield went for 20, caught well by Sarel Burger off Louis Klazinger.

However, fellow opener Paul Stirling carried Ireland through to the finish with 59 off 32 balls, smacking a four off the first delivery of the 11th over to win it.

Earlier, Ireland had taken wickets at a steady clip to prevent Namibia building any rhythm.

Trent Johnston accounted for openers Raymond van Schoon (1) and Louis van der Westhuizen (14) and when Craig Williams became the first of Max Sorensen's two victims, having made just three, Namibia were on 25 for three with seven overs already gone.

They continued to score at well under a run a ball as Gerrie Snyman made just 17 off 39 deliveries and Sorensen then had Burger caught for 20 - helping him to figures of two for eight off his four overs.

Ian Opperman did his best to up the scoring with an unbeaten 26 off 15 balls, including one six, late on, but Namibia were only delaying the inevitable.

© UTV News
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