Dubai: Ed Joyce hit an unbeaten half-century to help Ireland defeat Scotland by 17 runs and move closer to the playoffs in the ICC World Twenty20 qualifying on Sunday.
Afghanistan and Namibia, meanwhile, remained unbeaten in the 16-team tournament.
Samiullah Shenwari collected four wickets and scored 61 as defending champions and Group A leader Afghanistan beat Canada by 41 runs. Namibia lead Group B ahead of Ireland after downing Kenya by seven wickets, helped by Raymond van Schoor's 49 runs.
Second-place Ireland, in need of a victory to keep pace with Afghanistan, chose to bat first after winning the toss — a move that seemed to backfire when both openers were out in the first seven balls of the match. But Joyce held the innings together with his 78 not out from 58 balls that included six fours and three sixes.
He put on 30 for the fourth wicket with Kevin O'Brien (16), 55 for the fifth wicket with Gary Wilson (26) and then dominated a 27-run unbroken sixth-wicket partnership with John Mooney (4).
In their target chase, Scotland slipped to 22-3 in 3.4 overs before Kyle Coetzer led the fightback with a punishing 62 off 52 balls. Coetzer and Fraser Watts put on 79 in 11 overs to lift Scotland to 101-3.
But Watts fell for 33 and Coetzer departed with 26 needed in seven overs, a target that proved too much.
"We thought 160 would be a par score on a wicket which was good to bat on. So I am really delighted that I able to hit the sixes which took us to that total which we thought we could defend," Joyce said. "It was also good to hit sixes off the final two deliveries as Twenty20 format is not my strength like the 50-over or four-day format. But I think I am playing well and hitting the ball nicely, which is good as we approach a very crucial stage of the tournament."
Afghanistan opted to bat first and made 174-8 in 20 overs. In reply, Canada were restricted to 133-9.
After Shenwari's 61 from 34 balls had set the pace, Canada's chase never took off with the team losing wickets at regular intervals. Junaid Siddiqui (21) and Nitish Kumar (38) did their part but the rest were no match for the bowling of Dawlat Zadran (2-23) and Shenwari (4-14).
"It makes me very happy to see us having so much support here. The crowd really helps us here, so I would like to thank all of our supporters," Shenwari said. "I am very grateful that I have been given the chance to bat higher up the order. I have always scored runs wherever I bat for Afghanistan."
In Sharjah, Namibia bowled out Kenya for 108 in 18.4 overs. In their reply, Namibia chased down the target in 16.3 overs to end at 109-3.
Duncan Allan (40) and Collins Obuya (31) shared a 71-run stand for the second wicket for Kenya. But they collapsed soon after, with Louis Klazinga (4-9) and Christi Viljoen (2-5) the key wicket-takers.
Van Schoor, who scored an unbeaten 79 in an earlier victory of the United States, again led the way for Namibia.
"I very happy with the show. It was a good all-round performance by us," Klazinga said. "To pull it back from the position they were in at 84-1 was great for us. We batted very well and knocked off the runs pretty easily. The morale in the camp is very good. We are taking it as it comes and it has been going good for us."
Elsewhere in Group B, the United States sealed their first victory after four defeats with a 30-run win over Oman. Captain Sushil Nadkarni led the way with 59 runs off 47 balls. Italy dented Uganda's playoff hopes with a 13-run victory.
Netherlands beat Papua New Guinea by nine wickets in Group A.