A dramatic collapse saw Ireland slump to a five run loss against the UAE in their second T20 International in Abu Dhabi.
Ireland had looked on course for an emphatic win as skipper William Porterfield and Paul Stirling’s boundary blitz saw the opening pair share an opening stand of 61 in just 42 balls as Ireland chased UAE’s total of 133 for 7.
The stand was ended when Stirling (28) was beaten by a seaming delivery from skipper Amjad Javed.
Porterfield continued in fluent fashion reaching his half century in 41 balls (7 fours) - his third in T20 internationals as Ireland reached 91 for 1 in the 13th over.
However the game swung in dramatic fashion following the dismissal of Stuart Poynter (10) - that sparked a collapse which saw Ireland lose eight wickets for just 35 runs to hand the UAE a quite incredible win.
Porterfield looked as if he might save the day with his highest score in T20I’s - his 72 coming from 60 balls (8 fours, 1 six). However with 13 needed off 11 balls, he was run out by wicket-keeper Swapnil Patil.
Nine were needed off the last over, but Max Sorensen was run out off the first ball, and George Dockrell bowled from the second.
That left Boyd Rankin and Tim Murtagh at the crease, and the pair managed just a scrambled bye and a single to complete a superb comeback win for the jubilant hosts.
Earlier Boyd Rankin had claimed 3 for 17 as his impressive comeback continued.
The giant paceman gives the Irish attack an extra dimension with his height, pace and bounce and he troubled all the Emirati batsmen.
Hills all-rounder Max Sorensen (2-16) was also among the wickets with the other two UAE wickets falling to run outs - Andy Balbirnie and George Dockrell the fielders.
Tim Murtagh and Sorensen bowled extremely well at the death, restricting the hosts to just ten runs in the last three overs of the innings. Swapnil Patil (31), Mohammad Shahzad (22) and Rohan Mustafa (20) all got starts for the hosts, but too often it was a case of six and out, as the UAE cleared the ropes six times in their innings.
The defeat will give Ireland Head Coach John Bracewell much food for thought after another batting collapse.
The squad will now have a week’s break before travelling to Chandigarh for a training camp ahead of their World T20 campaign which starts with a warm-up game against Hong Kong on March 3.