Ireland scrape to Twenty20 win over Italy

Ireland scraped past Italy to make it two wins from three in the ICC World Twenty20 qualifier in Dubai.

Ireland scraped past Italy to make it two wins from three in the ICC World Twenty20 qualifier in Dubai.

The pre-tournament favourites lost their opening clash with Namibia before a convincing win over Kenya yesterday.

Despite restricting Italy to just 100 for seven they were made to work for victory, reaching 104 for eight with two balls to spare.

Italy scored just one run in the first 15 balls, with opener Andy Northcote falling to Paul Stirling for a duck.

Boyd Rankin then took the first of three wickets before Italy’s key pairing of Michael Di Venuto and Gareth Berg put on 39 for the third wicket.

George Dockrell had Australia-born Di Venuto lbw for 23 and Stirling returned to dismiss Berg for 19.

Ireland kept the runs down for the remainder to set up a seemingly straightforward chase.

But both Kevin O’Brien and Ed Joyce failed to hit double figures, while Stirling (17), Will Porterfield (19) and Alex Cusack (15) got in and then out.

A nervy finish was in store but Surrey’s Gary Wilson hit a run-a-ball 30no to see them over the line.

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