Ireland took a huge leap forwards in their efforts to qualify for the main draw of the ICC World Twenty20 with a 21-run win under the Duckworth-Lewis method over the United Arab Emirates in Sylhet.
Following on from their dramatic last-ball victory over Zimbabwe on St Patrick’s Day, William Porterfield’s men restricted the UAE to a paltry 123 for six after winning the toss, with Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien each taking two wickets.
The total never looked enough after Porterfield and Ed Joyce put on an 80-run partnership, but Ireland were denied the chance to cross the finish line when the floodlights twice went out at the Sylhet Stadium and with rain following, the match was quickly called to a halt.
With Ireland well ahead of par on 103 for three, they were awarded the points and just need to beat Holland in their final group match to book their spot into the main draw where the likes of England, Sri Lanka and South Africa await.
Having won the toss, Ireland opted to field first but were initially subdued by UAE opening pair Amjad Ali and Faizan Asif before the two were involved in a mix-up in the fifth over and the latter run out by Tim Murtagh.
Amjad cracked four fours in his 20 but his innings ended when he edged to short third man off Stirling, who picked up another wicket three balls later when Swapnil Patil tamely flicked to midwicket.
Shaiman Anwar thumped two sixes as he top scored with 30 before giving O’Brien a simple caught and bowled chance.
While the UAE’s hopes were undermined by their failure to find the boundary on a regular basis.
Indeed, their batsmen only found the rope 11 times in their 20 overs although Amjad Javed (19) and Rohan Mustafa (13 not out) ran hard to lift their side’s total to a little more than a run a ball.
Stirling showed them how it was done in Ireland’s reply with two fours in the first over before having to retire hurt in the second over after earlier being struck on the elbow.
Porterfield (33no) and Joyce continued to thrive, however, with the latter thumping Ahmed Raza for a flat six and then a four in the eighth over.
Joyce perished for 43 after pulling Sharif Asadullah to midwicket, while O’Brien was dismissed three balls later, with Andrew Poynter falling soon after.
Any hopes of a tense finish were dashed when the floodlights suddenly went off and the game lasted just two balls longer before the power bizarrely went out again.
With rain then hitting the stadium, the game was abandoned and Ireland - well ahead of their Duckworth-Lewis target of 82 - claimed the win.