T20 World Cup qualifier: Ireland reignite hopes with vital Bahrain win

Gareth Delany
Gareth Delany’s 51 not out off 34 deliveries helped Ireland reach 158-5
Ireland 158-5 (20 overs): Delany 51*, Balbirnie 33; Aziz 2-16
Bahrain 137-5 (20 overs): Veerapathiran 34*, Younis 30; Young 3-16
Ireland won by 21 runs

Ireland kept their hopes of reaching the Twenty20 World Cup alive with a vital 21-run win over Bahrain in Oman.

Opening pair Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie shared a second consecutive half-century stand to set up Ireland’s total of 158-5.

Gareth Delany backed up the fast start with an unbeaten 51 as Bahrain were set a winning target of 159.

Despite Sathaiya Veerapathiran’s 14-ball 33 they never looked likely to chase that down.

Craig Young was the pick of Ireland’s attack, taking three wickets for just 16 runs in his four overs.

Ireland can book their place in the semi-final of the qualifying competition by beating Germany in their final group game on Monday.

They must reach the final of the tournament in order to guarantee a berth at the World Cup in Australia.

Having fallen to defeat in their opening game against the UAE, Ireland knew another loss would end their hopes of reaching the main tournament.

Batting first, Stirling and Balbirnine put on 45 runs in the powerplay, reaching 61 before captain Balbirnie (33) was dismissed by Junaid Aziz.

Ireland, who struggled against the UAE’s spin on Friday, we able to regroup and keep their run-rate hovering around seven for the duration of their innings. Delany’s impressive 51 off 34 balls, including three sixes, took them to a competitive total.

Despite Muhammad Younis and Sarfaraz Ali’s opening stand of 37, Bahrain were not making enough runs to panic Ireland, with Young eventually removing the top order to put his side on course for victory.

When Veerapathiran arrived at the crease Bahrain still required 73 runs with just 5.3 overs remaining. He produced an unbeaten and entertaining innings that included four sixes against spinner Simi Singh, but could not inflict enough damage to bring his side back into the game.

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