Ireland qualify for World Twenty20
Ireland needed barely more than half their overs to cruise to a nine-wicket victory over Namibia at Dubai and book a place in their third straight ICC World Twenty20.
Ireland restricted Namibia to just 94 for six and then knocked off the required runs from 10.1 overs to reach the final of the qualifying tournament, in which they then beat Afghanistan by five wickets later in the day.
That meant they will join Australia and West Indies in Group B of the competition proper, with Afghanistan facing defending champions England and 2007 winners India in Group A.
Will Porterfield’s side had lost by four runs to Namibia in the group stage, but today's result rarely looked in doubt once Ireland began their reply as they knocked off almost a quarter of the required runs in the first two overs.
They could not quite match their achievement in this tournament of twice chasing down targets without losing a wicket as Porterfield went for 20, well caught by captain Sarel Burger at midwicket off Louis Klazinger.
However, fellow opener Paul Stirling carried Ireland through to the finish with 59 off 32 balls, completing victory with his 10th boundary.
Ireland, who lost the toss, took regular wickets to prevent Namibia building momentum.
Trent Johnston accounted for openers Raymond van Schoon and Louis van der Westhuizen and when Craig Williams became the first of Max Sorensen's two victims, Namibia were on 25 for three.
They continued to score at well under a run a ball as Gerrie Snyman made 17 off 39 deliveries and Sorensen then had Burger caught for 20 - helping him to figures of 2-8 from four overs.
Ian Opperman did his best to up the scoring with an unbeaten 26 off 15 balls, including one six, but it was far from enough to deny Ireland.
Stirling again shone against Afghanistan with 79 from 38 balls. His knock, which included three sixes and nine fours, helped Ireland overhaul 152 for seven with seven deliveries to spare.
Afghanistan’s total was built around 77 from number three Mohammad Shehzad.
Having lost the toss, Ireland soon removed both opening batsman with Karim Sadiq playing on to Boyd Rankin via his helmet and Javed Ahmadi caught at third man off Johnston.
Shehzad dominated but wickets came regularly at the other end with Mirwais Ashraf held at point off Kevin O’Brien, who then forced Nawroz Mangal to hole out to long-on.
Sorensen was involved in the last three wickets, having Samiullah Shenwari and Shahzad held at long-off either side of catching Mohammad Nabi at deep midwicket off Stirling.
Ireland lost Porterfield first ball, bowled by Dawlat Zadran’s yorker, but Stirling responded with three consecutive fours off Mirwais Ashraf.
Although Ed Joyce holed out to deep square-leg off Aftab Alam, Stirling continued to prosper and added 80 for the third wicket with Gary Wilson.
Zadran removed Stirling in the 13th over thanks to Gulbodin Naib’s stunning leg-side take and the seamer had O’Brien caught behind first ball.
Wilson and Andrew Poynter kept Ireland on course, although the former fell for 32 when he holed out to long-off off Alam - who was later reprimanded and warned for giving Wilson a ‘send-off’.
Poynter, who finished unbeaten on 23, completed victory later in the over with a four through midwicket.