Stirling, Simi star in Ireland’s 15-run win

MUSCAT, FEB 13 – Test-playing Ireland produced an eye-catching bowling effort to beat Oman by 15 runs in the Quadrangular T20I Series at the Amerat Cricket Ground.
After Paul Stirling’s half century helped Ireland reach 159-5 in 20 overs, Oman seemed hopeful of a victory.
However, Ireland’s bowling clicked when it mattered as Simi Singh scalped three wickets while Boyd Rankin, Peter Chase and Joshua Little picked two wickets apiece to restrict Oman to 144-9 in 20 overs.
Oman, missing the services of captain Zeeshan Maqsood and batting mainstay Aaqib Ilyas, were off-colour with the bat.
Earlier, it was Paul Stirling’s inspired 71 that laid a strong platform for Ireland. In the company of the experienced Kevin O’Brien, the duo built an opening stand of 44 before O’Brien perished for 19 to Fayyaz Butt.
The Oman bowlers were initially struggling to get their lines right and the Irish openers were unforgiving.
Anything short or wide was dispatched to all parts of the picturesque Al Amerat Cricket Ground. Fayyaz was the pick of the bowlers as he bagged two wickets and conceded just 19 runs in four overs with an economy of 4.75.
Ireland captain Stirling slammed 11 boundaries and a six for his 71 runs. The Ireland opener was adjudged man of the match for his match-winning performance.
The second wicket partnership of 78 between Stirling and A Balbirnie threatened Oman with a big score. At one stage, 170-175 looked a possibility but credit to Oman’s bowlers as they pegged back the Irish charge.