Worcestershire defeat Ireland
Ireland's preparations for the World Twenty20 started with a disappointing six-wicket defeat by Worcestershire in Abu Dhabi.
A target of 128 for victory in temperatures nudging 33 degrees proved no match for the county side, with Dutchman Alexei Kervezee playing a match-winning innings of 54 not out.
Worcestershire endured a nightmare trip to the Middle East, taking 15 hours to get there because of fog, but their bowlers were in fine form on a pitch that aided spin bowling.
Shaaiq Choudhry took 4-30 and Brett D'Oliveira 2-18 with Gary Wilson top-scoring for Ireland with 32, while Ed Joyce added a quick-fire 21 and James Shannon contributed 30 in a late innings rally that at least took the required rate above a run-a-ball.
Daryl Mitchell and Tom Kohler-Cadmore made a decent start to Worcestershire's reply, putting on 27 before Max Sorenson caught and bowled the latter for 25, an innings that came off only 16 balls and included five fours.
Kervezee came in and took the score to 61 with Mitchell before Andy McBrine trapped the Pears captain for 15, and George Dockrell removed Tom Fell for only two.
But Irish hopes were dashed by a fourth-wicket partnership between Kervezee and Ross Whiteley, who was eventually dismissed for 22 - a second wicket for Dockrell - just before Worcestershire reached their target.
Kervezee ended up unbeaten on 54, hitting three fours and two sixes in a 42-ball knock, and Gareth Andrew joined him to smash the winning runs with a straight drive for four.
Ireland are back in action on Saturday in Sharjah against Hong Kong while Worcestershire take on the Netherlands.