Paul Stirling and Boyd Rankin star as Ireland move closer to World Cup qualification

Stirling and captain William Porterfield combined to set a record-breaking opening partnership of 205.

Paul Stirling and Boyd Rankin star as Ireland move closer to World Cup qualification

Ireland recorded a dominant 226-run Duckworth-Lewis victory over the United Arab Emirates in Harare to progress through to the Super Six stage of the World Cup qualifying tournament.

Paul Stirling hit a rapid 126 off 117 deliveries as he helped captain William Porterfield, who made 92, set a record-breaking opening partnership of 205.

Kevin O'Brien added an unbeaten 50 from just 26 balls as Ireland eventually posted 313 for six off 44 overs following two short rain delays. Mohammad Naveed took three for 84 from his nine-over spell, including the wicket of Stirling.

The UAE were set a revised victory target of 318, but never looked like getting close.

Boyd Rankin claimed four wickets as the UAE were dismissed for only 91 runs in the 30th over, wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabeer the top scorer at 19.

Rankin returned figures of four for 15 from his devastating six-over spell, and all-rounder Simi Singh also picked up three wickets for 15.

Ireland will next face Zimbabwe in the first game of the Super Six stage on March 16, then meet Scotland and Afghanistan.

- PA

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