Gary Wilson hit 80 to help Ireland to a nervy two-wicket World Cup win over the United Arab Emirates in Brisbane.
World Cup, Pool B, Brisbane: UAE 278-9 (50 overs): Shaiman 106, Javed 42, Stirling 2-27 Ireland 279-8 (49.2 overs): Kevin O'Brien 50, Wilson 80, Javed 3-60 Ireland won by two wickets
Shaiman Anwar scored a maiden ODI century as the UAE part-timers hit 147 from their last 15 overs to post 278-9.
They then pegged Ireland back to 97-4, but Kevin O’Brien (50) and Wilson put on 72 from 36 balls for the sixth wicket to help rebuild the innings.
Ireland, who have two wins from their opening two Pool B games, next face South Africa in Canberra on 3 March.
O’Brien and Wilson were both dismissed as William Porterfield’s side closed in on the target, but Brisbane-born Alex Cusack and off-spinner George Dockrell kept their nerve to lead Ireland to victory with just four balls to spare.
World cricket’s governing body the ICC has decided to limit the next World Cup to 10 teams, but two associate sides who may struggle to qualify for the event in England in 2019 arguably played out the most exciting match of the tournament so far, one that was finally settled in the 100th and final over after 557 runs and 17 wickets.
The game ebbed and flowed, with Ireland reducing the UAE to 131-6 in the 35th over, before Shaiman (106 from 83 balls) and Amjad Javed (42 from 35 balls) put on a World Cup record seventh-wicket stand of 107 to set up a challenging total on a turning wicket.
Ireland struggled for any fluency in their reply, until the more expansively minded O’Brien joined Wilson at the wicket in the 39th over with 108 runs still needed.
O’Brien and Wilson’s six-over partnership seemed to turn the match decisively in Ireland’s favour, but when O’Brien, Wilson and John Mooney all fell in the final seven overs, the UAE sensed a first win over Ireland since 2001.
Dockrell and Cusack came together with 12 runs still needed from 15 balls, and after a series of wild swings and unconvincing hacks, the pair finally wrapped up victory in the final over.