Ireland will face UAE in the first match of the T20 World Cup qualifiers on Friday having now lost to the Emirates in three of their last four meetings.

After a 2-1 series defeat ahead of last year’s World Cup, they crashed to another 13 runs defeat yesterday in their second match of the quadrangular tournament in Oman.

The game, yet again, exposed Ireland’s weaknesses in the shortest format as, despite the run out of Paul Stirling in the first over, they had reached 89 for two in the 10th over, in pursuit of UAE’s 178 for five.

But only four boundaries were scored, two by ‘glue batsman’ Curtis Campher, who hit 40 off 39 balls and, crucially, only two at the other end, sixes by Shane Getkate and Lorcan Tucker.

Thanks to Gareth Delany’s 40 from 20 balls (four fours and two sixes in his last eight balls) Ireland were ahead of UAE in the chase until the second ball of the final over, but while Mark Adair was hit for 23 from his final six balls, Ireland, who needed 20, could scramble only four singles from an eight-ball over!

Andrew Balbirnie knew he had to go big for a second successive day after calling Stirling for a run and then, fatally sending him back but the captain’s dismissal in the 10th over, led to the usual middle-order woes.

Adair had already conceded 21 off his first two overs when he was asked to bowl the final over, but with Campher (0-29 from three) the only other option Balbirnie had nowhere else to go.

The stand-out bowler was Craig Young who took his second four-wicket-haul and dismissed both UAE top scorers immediately after they had reached 50.

It was all so different on Saturday when an opening stand of 103 between Stirling and Balbirnie made their chase of Oman’s 139 a formality, winning by nine wickets with 17 balls to spare.

Balbirnie’s unbeaten 75 was his second highest T20 score and Stirling was stumped for 51, his 27th T20 half-century.

Simi Singh had bowled superbly to rein in Oman who were 86 for three after 11 and finished with his best and most economical T20 figures of three for nine. Yet, yesterday, his four overs were wicketless and cost 27 runs.

Today, Ireland have their final pre-World Cup qualifying game, against Nepal (10am) but with such a swing from one day to another, their Achilles Heel, inconsistency, both collectively and individually, has already raised its ugly head.

Assuming they beat Bahrain and Germany in their second and third games next weekend, they will face a one-off semi-final, probably against Oman or Nepal, to determine if they will qualify for the T20 World Cup in Australia next October.

And with memories of their failure against Namibia, at the last World Cup still fresh in the mind, Ireland can take nothing for granted.