Ireland are currently on a tour to the United Arab Emirates to play a 4-match ODI series with the first of the four-match series played on Friday. Despite two UAE players testing positive for COVID-19, the match took place at Abu Dhabi. Ireland skipper Andy Balbirnie, after winning the toss, decided to bat first and the visitors ended their innings at 269/5.
While both the teams struggled to play international matches in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ireland batsman Paul Stirling lit up the New Year by becoming the first cricketer to score a ODI century in 2021 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Stirling scored 131 runs off 148 balls which included 9 fours and 4 sixes.
Kevin O'Brien and Curtis Campher were the other top scorers for the side. O'Brien, who opened the innings for Ireland alongside Stirling, scored 23 runs, while Campher scored 24 runs. Gareth Delany scored a quickfire 21 runs of 15 balls to take the team total to 269/5. For UAE, Rohan Mustafa was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2/43 in 10 overs. While the UAE vs Ireland 1st ODI result is yet to be out, at the time of writing, the hosts (UAE) were reeling at 56/3 after 15 overs with the team's top batsman and wicketkeeper Vriitya Aravind having been dismissed by Barry McCarthy.
While Paul Stirling scored the first century in the ODI format in 2021, Australia's Steve Smith scored the first century of 2021 in Test cricket. On the second day of the ongoing third Test in Sydney, Steve Smith scored his 27th Test century by scoring 131 off 226 deliveries with the help of 16 boundaries to guide the Australian team to a competitive total of 338. At the end of Day 2, India were 96/2 with openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill sent back to the pavilion.
The 30-year-old has played 3 Test matches so far in his career and has scored 104 runs in the format. His highest score in the longest format is just 36 runs. On the other hand, Stirling has proved his credentials in the limited-overs formats, scoring 4,277 runs in ODI cricket and 2,124 runs in the T20I format.
Coming to the UAE vs Ireland 2021 schedule, three matches will be played at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. While the first match is currently underway, the second match will be played on Sunday, January 10, while the third ODI will be played on Tuesday, January 12.
Opener Paul Stirling led from the front by scoring an unbeaten century (131 runs), while the skipper Andy Balbirnie himself scored a half-century (53 runs).
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