|One-day international, Dubai|
|United Arab Emirates 222-9 (50 overs): Shahzad 75; Rankin 2-26, K O’Brien, 2-39, Chase 2-50, McCarthy 2-47|
|Ireland 226-6 (49.2 overs): Joyce 116*, Wilson 53, Porterfield 28; Naveed 2-45, Raza 2-49|
|Ireland won by four wickets|
Ed Joyce’s unbeaten 116 helped Ireland recover from a perilous position to beat the United Arab Emirates by four wickets in the one-day game in Dubai.
Chasing the hosts’ total of 222-9, Ireland were in trouble at 5-2 and then 91-5 before Joyce’s brilliance steered them to victory.
Joyce, 39, put on 131 runs with Gary Wilson before the Derbyshire man was out for 53 as the scores were tied.
Fittingly, ex-Sussex and Middlesex player Joyce then hit the winning four.
In Graham Ford’s first match in charge of the Irish, Joyce was back in the team after missing last month’s series victory over Afghanistan because of a knee injury.
The Irish face the UAE again in Dubai on Saturday before further games against Scotland on Monday and Wednesday as the teams prepare for the World Cup qualifiers in March.
After Ireland opted to field, Rameez Shahzad top-scored for the hosts with 75 with Mohammad Boota contributing 37 and opener Ashfaq Ahmed hitting 35.
Boyd Rankin was the pick of the Ireland bowlers as he produced figures of 2-26, which included his caught-and-bowled dismissal of Shahzad.
Barry McCarthy, Peter Chase and Kevin O’Brien also took two wickets as the hosts produced a competitive total.
In reply, Ireland looked in trouble as Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie both departed for ducks to leave them on 5-2.
William Porterfield and Joyce put on 41 for the third wicket before the skipper was out for 28 and the departures of the O’Brien brothers Niall and Kevin then left then Irish struggling on 91-5.
However, the partnership between Joyce and Wilson took the contest out of the UAE’s grasp as the veteran batsman hit 13 fours and a six in sixth one-day international century.
“It’s great to get the win and back up the series victory over Afghanistan and keep that winning streak going,” said Joyce.
“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.”