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Page last updated at 11:41 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 12:41 UK

Ireland book World Twenty20 spot

Ireland's Andre Botha
Andre Botha claimed three crucial wickets for the Irish

Ireland guaranteed themselves a place in next year's World Twenty20 by beating Kenya in the semi-finals of the qualifier in Belfast on Monday.

After bowling Kenya out for a modest 67, the Irish endured several nervous moments before reaching 72-6 with five balls to spare.

Ireland lost openers William Porterfield and Gary Wilson for ducks and slid to 49-6 in the 16th over.

However, Trent Johnston and Kevin O'Brien helped steer Ireland home.

O'Brien rounded off Ireland's win by hitting a thumping six.

The early departures of skipper Porterfield and Wilson left Ireland on 3-2 and while Andre Botha's top-score of 22 moved the innings along, four wickets for the addition of only eight runs left the home side precariously placed on 49-6.

606: DEBATE
Andrew White and Alex Cusask both went cheaply while Niall O'Brien scored 11 before departing in the 16th over.

However, Johnston (8 not out) and O'Brien (17 not out) stayed together, just as they had against against Pakistan in last year's shock World Cup victory, to guide the Irish past Kenya's total.

Only Steven Tikolo and Thomas Odoyo made double figure in Kenya's innings as Botha was the pick of Ireland's attack with figures of 3-20.

Peter Connell, Alex Cusack and Kevin O'Brien all took two wickets while Porterfield claimed a run-out as Kenya were bowled out for 67 after 17.2 overs.

The two finalists in the qualifying event at Stormont automatically progress to the money-spinning World Twenty20 in England.

We seem to like making it hard work for ourselves

Ireland captain William Porterfield
The winner of the third and fourth place play-off in Belfast may also earn a spot because of the continuing doubts over Zimbabwe's presence in the competition.

Scotland and the Netherlands play in the second semi-final on Monday afternoon.

"We seem to like making it hard work for ourselves," admitted Porterfield after Ireland's win.

"But the main thing is we're there."

Connell's two early wickets reduced Kenya to 15-3 with Kyle McCallan reacting speedily at mid-on to take a great catch to dismiss Alex Obando.

Dangermen Tikolo and Odoyo were both dismissed comparatively cheaply with the latter unable to repeat the heroics of last year's Twenty20 qualifier in Nairobi.

Botha trapped Tikolo and then clean bowled Odoyo with the Kenyan attempting an unwise slog.

That left the Africans on 57-8 and Botha then claimed his third wicket to dismiss Peter Ongondo while Porterfield's brilliant throw to run out Tony Suji ended the innings.




see also
Ireland defeat Scots at Stormont
03 Aug 08 |  Cricket
Scots & Irish eye World Twenty20
01 Aug 08 |  Cricket


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