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Ford's reign off to a winning start as Joyce guides Ireland home with classy century

Preparations for the World Cup qualifiers continued in Dubai earlier.

Joyce scored his sixth ODI century for Ireland on Thursday.
Joyce scored his sixth ODI century for Ireland on Thursday.
Image: Presseye/Rowland White/INPHO

GRAHAM FORD’S REIGN as Ireland head coach got off to a winning start today as Ed Joyce’s unbeaten century helped guide his side home to a four-wicket victory over UAE in Dubai.

Joyce shared a vital sixth wicket stand of 131 with Gary Wilson as they rescued Ireland from another precarious position after a top-order wobble in pursuit of UAE’s total of 222/9.

The 39-year-old, who missed last month’s series win over Afghanistan through injury, showed no ill effects as he scored his sixth ODI century and 10th overall for Ireland to finish unbeaten on 116 from 149 balls.

The last of Joyce’s 13 boundaries sealed victory for the visitors with four balls to spare.

“It’s difficult to come out of our winter straight away and hit our straps having been indoors, but it’s great to get the win and back up the series victory over Afghanistan and keep that winning streak going,” said Joyce.

“I didn’t realise I’d passed 10,000 List-A runs but I’ve been playing a long time. It felt great to get the hundred. I didn’t feel in great nick going into the game but felt in physically good shape and that hasn’t been the case for a while. That made the difference today, with Gary and myself ensuring we got over the line with a very mature partnership.

We had a few soft dismissals but you’ll get that with the players being a little rusty. We’ll tighten up the batting and the first 10 overs with the ball and improve in the games ahead.”

Earlier in the day, the Irish bowling attack turned in a steady display with four of the five bowlers used taking a brace of wickets.

Boyd Rankin — winning his 100th cap — took two for 26 to reach the 150 wicket landmark, while George Dockrell’s wicket also saw him reach the 250 wicket milestone.

Kevin O’Brien (2-39), Barry McCarthy (2-47) and Peter Chase (2-50) were also among the wickets as Ireland bowled well at the death to keep the UAE total in check.

The sides meet again on Saturday as Ireland continue their preparations for the World Cup qualifiers in March.

First ODI scorecard:

UAE 222/9 (50 overs; Rameez Shahzad 75, Mohammad Boota 37, Ashfaq Ahmed 35, Ghulam Shabber 21; Boyd Rankin 2-26, Kevin O’Brien 2-39, Barry McCarthy 2-47, Peter Chase 2-50)

Ireland 226/6 (49.2 overs; Ed Joyce 116*, Gary Wilson 53*, William Porterfield 28, Mohammad Naveed 2-45, Ahmed Raza 2-49)

Ireland beat UAE by four wickets

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