Ireland left it late to win their World Twenty20 warm-up game against Nepal, but eventually triumphed in style.
In front of 5,000 fans, William Porterfield opted to field first on winning the toss and once again spin was key as early wickets from George Dockrell and Andy McBrine soon had their side in front.
A 55-run third wicket stand between skipper Gyanendra Malla and Paras Khadka gave the Nepalese innings some impetus, but despite their partnership the batting team rarely threatened to take the game away.
Malla top scored with an impressive 47 (3 fours and a six) and Khadka added 31 while the Irish bowled well as a unit.
McBrine and Kevin O’Brien both returned figures of 2-22 with Dockrell picking up 2-31 and Max Sorensen 1-16 as Nepal closed their 20 overs on 137 for 7.
Openers Porterfield and Stirling got the reply off to a bright start with a quick 30-run stand before Jutendra Mukhiya removed the latter and Ed Joyce in successive balls. Porterfield and Andrew Poynter restored order as Ireland recovered to 78-2 before the skipper went for 38 (3 fours).
With the required rate creeping up Poynter fell to a superb catch at long off for 28 and he was followed back to the hutch soon after by Kevin O’Brien as Nepal sensed their chance. At that point Ireland needed 31 from the last three overs with Gary Wilson and Stuart Thompson in the middle but this pair were to have matters in hand.
Wilson smashed two big sixes off Shakti Gauchan’s final over as Ireland closed in on victory and Thompson only needed the first ball of the 20th to seal a five-wicket win, the pair finishing unbeaten on 29 and 21 respectively.
Coach Simmons will no doubt see this as a good work out for his side and although much tougher challenges lie ahead this was a compact performance from the boys in green.
McBrine and Dockrell seem sure to see plenty of work in the coming weeks and the fact that both were in the thick of the action bodes well for the tournament itself.
Ireland are back in action tomorrow at the same venue when they take on hosts Bangaldesh in another warm-up game.