Ireland bounce back in T20 World Cup qualifying with Bahrain win
Ireland kept their hopes of qualifying for a seventh straight T20 World Cup alive on Saturday with a 21-run victory over Bahrain in Oman, while the United Arab Emirates and Nepal made it two wins from two.
The Irish posted a challenging total of 157-5 after winning the toss and electing to bat first, and Bahrain never threatened a successful run chase despite a late flurry from Sathaiya Veerapathiran.
Ireland, the only Test team playing at the Global Qualifier A tournament, would have been knocked out by a defeat after their opening loss to the UAE on Friday.
There are two places for the showpiece event, being held in Australia later this year, up for grabs at the qualifier.
The top two teams in each of the two four-nation groups will reach the semi-finals, with the finalists securing tickets Down Under.
Andy Balbirnie's Ireland have to beat Germany, playing at this level for the first time, in their final Group A game and hope the UAE beat Bahrain to be sure of reaching the semis.
"We knew this would be a tough test, and we know over these last few games we have to be on it," said captain Balbirnie.
"As for Germany, we're not playing good enough cricket to under-estimate any team, and we are hoping to hit our peak form over these last key games and earn that right to go to Australia."
Balbirnie and Paul Stirling put on 62 for the first wicket, before Gareth Delany's unbeaten 51 propelled Ireland to a strong score.
The in-form Craig Young did the damage with the ball, taking 3-16, as Veerapathiran made the winning margin smaller by smashing four sixes in his 14-ball 33 not out.
The UAE are all but through to the last four after edging out Germany by 24 runs.
Chirag Suri hit 81 as the Emiratis racked up 191-5. The Germans managed to stay in the chase for long periods before finishing on 167-9.
Nepal moved top of Group B as Kushal Bhurtel scored a hundred and star leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane took 3-9 in a 136-run thrashing of the Philippines.
The Filipinos had not played a match in three years before the qualifier, and some of their players had never met before arriving in Oman.
The hosts bounced back from their loss to Nepal by beating Canada by nine wickets with two overs to spare.
The final two spots for the 2022 T20 World Cup will be decided at the Global Qualifier B event in Zimbabwe in July.