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Ireland: International Tournaments
2010 World T20 Qualifier

The qualifying tournament for the 2010 World Cup was held just two months before the competition was due to start in the West Indies and saw eight teams battling it out for two spots.

In Group A Ireland were joined by new kids on the block Afghanistan, Scotland and wild card invite USA, who were being promoted heavily by ICC looking to push the States into the mainstream consciousness of the American public. In Group B the hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) got the second wildcard invite, and they would play Canada, Kenya and joint-holders (with Ireland) The Netherlands.

The format didn’t allow much room for error by the teams with the top two in each group progressing to a Super Four phase. Teams would carry forward the result against their fellow group qualifier, while playing the other two teams. The top two would get the two qualification places and then play a final to determine who would play in which Group at the World Cup.

The opening day saw Afghanistan go a long way to securing a berth as they defended 139 to beat Ireland by 13 runs. Mohammed Nabi hit a quickfire 43 and then took two wickets in a Man of the Match display, while part-time bowler Karim Khan was the most successful bowler with three wickets. Elsewhere in the group USA stunned Scotland as they chased 120 to win by six wickets in the final over – Carl Wright getting the MOM award with a solid 61.

The Netherlands got their campaign off to a winning start as they chased down Canada’s 142 with five balls to spare. They showed all their nous in a nerveless chase with Alexei Kervezee (39) and Bas Zuiderent (43*) the main run getters in the six wicket win. The other game produced something of a surprise as UAE beat Kenya by 15 runs. Irfan Haider top scored with 59 as the hosts made 165, while Ahmed Raza’s 2 for 17 helped restrict Kenya to 150.

The second round of games saw the Irish get back on track with a 78-run win against USA. Niall O’Brien scored a man of the match 84, sharing significant stands with William Porterfield (45) and Alex Cusack (46) as they posted 202 for 4. Peter Connell then took 4 for 14 as the Americans stumbled to 25 for 6, before Aditya Thyagarajan’s 71 not out saw them to respectability at 124 for 6. Afghanistan ensured their place in the next round as they beat Scotland by 14 runs. Noor Ali Noori made 43 as they made 131, but it didn’t look enough as the Scots reached 74 for 2 in the chase before the wheels came off. Hamid Hassan and Mohammed Nabi combining to dismiss them for 117.

The UAE continued to justify their invitation as they chased 168 to beat The Netherlands. Daan van Bunge (76) put the Dutch in a strong position before five wickets from Qassim Zubair pulled them back. Khurram Khan and Naeemuddin Aslam then both made fifties as they added 101 to seal an excellent six wicket win. Kenya kept their hopes alive as they proved too strong for Canada, chasing 141 inside 15 overs with Alex Obanda (79) and Steve Tikolo (50) sharing an opening partnership of 126.

The final round of games saw Ireland confirm their place in the Super Fours as they beat traditional foes Scotland. Chasing 132 Scotland’s batters fell apart as they had five ducks as they were dismissed for 99 - Kyle Coetzer (43) and Gordon Drummond (35) the only players to make double figures as Trent Johnston, Peter Connell and George Dockrell doing most of the damage.

Afghanistan made it three from three as they beat USA by 29 runs – a game which drew much media attention given the ongoing conflict in the country at the time. Once again Hamid Hassan (3-14) and Mohammed Nabi (2-22) the pick of the bowlers.

UAE topped their group as they duly beat a disappointing Canada by 42 runs, with the North Americans making just 100 in reply to the hosts 142 – Arfan Haider (46) and Saqib Ali (43) the best of the UAE batting.

They were joined by The Netherlands who beat Kenya in the shoot-out. Mudassar Bukhari and Pieter Seelaar each took four wickets as Kenya were held to 130. Eric Szwarczynski (45) and Alexei Kervezee (33) ensured a stress free chase as they put on 72 on the way to a seven wicket win.

The first games in the Super Four phase saw Ireland beat UAE and The Netherlands outplay Afghanistan to set up winner takes all clashes on the final day.

Niall O’Brien hit 46 as the Irish made 152 for 7, while an impressive bowling display saw Alex Cusack take three wickets as the UAE made 130 – Andre Botha and Trent Johnston also taking a brace. The Dutch bowling unit did their job as they kept Afghanistan to 128, and 39 from Alexei Kervezee saw them home despite a few wobbles. Mohammed Nabi claimed three wickets but the experience of Ryan ten Doeschate ensured no late dramas in a four wicket win.

The last Super Four matches were both all or nothing affairs and it was Afghanistan who booked their plane to the West Indies with a four-wicket win over UAE. The win was set up once again by the bowling unit with Nabi and Hamid in the wickets as UAE made just 100 for 9. Afghanistan adopted a low-risk strategy and Noor Ali Noori batted through the innings as the win was sealed with three balls left.

Ireland were rarely in trouble in their decider with The Netherlands. Alex Cusack hit 65 from 44 balls (3 sixes, 3 fours) as they made 151 for 6. The Dutch reply never got going – 86 all out with four wickets for George Dockrell and two apiece from Andre Botha, Trent Johnston and Peter Connell.

There was no rest for the wicked as the final took place less than an hour following the game. The ICC keen to reduce costs meant the competition was somewhat condensed into the space of just five days.

Afghanistan duly claimed their first trophy as with the pressure off their batting flourished cheered on by 8000 fans in the Dubai stadium. Ireland scored 142 for 8, but that proved woefully inadequate thanks to the exploits of the enigmatic Mohammed Shahzad who hit a rapid unbeaten 65 in an eight wicket win.

Despite the loss the Irish had some consolation as Alex Cusack collected the Player of the Tournament Award.

Qualifiers: Afghanistan (winners), Ireland (runners-up).