McIlory bogeyed his final two holes of his round to finish the day five shots behind the 36 hole leader, Alvaro Quiros, while Donald who had been labouring around par for most of the day birdied his final three holes to get to 4 under and keeps alive his hopes of winning the event and the money list.
In order for Donald to be overtaken at the top of the money list McIlory needs to win the event and even if he did he would need Donald to finish outside the top 9. Both are possible but the closing stages of round two could yet prove crucial.
Quiros made a brilliant start to 2011 with a win in Dubai and a runner-up finish in Qatar and by mid May he was in the mid 20's in the world ranking but in the latter half of the season he has slipped to 52nd. Today however he matched Peter Hanson's opening round of 64 to open a substantial lead in a golfing environment he seems to enjoy.
Quiros was near faultless today finishing off what had already been an impressive display with an eagle at the last to take a four shot lead over Hanson into the weekend. Robert Rock and McIlory share third five shots off the pace.
"I mean, unfortunately I have to say they are not the only two players that play the tournament, Rory and Luke," said Quiros when responding to a question regarding Donald and McIlory.
"Obviously they are fighting for The Race to Dubai final top position, but the rest of them, we are lucky. I mean, we are playing here to try to, as you said, ruin the party, and this is good. I think otherwise the competition wouldn't be as stiff.
When asked why he plays so well in the Middle East Quiros would say, "Well, technically speaking I think we play under windy conditions, so it's sunny, but it's not cold, and this is something that I like, to play in the heat.
"Second of all, most of the time, in the Middle East, especially Qatar, we play the greens firm and quick. So it's a bigger advantage if you are hitting short clubs, as I do normally if I'm able to hit the driver well from the tee.
"So probably this is the key of these golf courses. Except in Abu Dhabi that my best position is 12th or 13th, and obviously we have King Kaymer in Abu Dhabi; the rest of the tournaments, normally I play well. I think mainly the setup of the golf course fits me."
Donald is in a share of 12th position although eight shots from the lead but he was quick to state the importance of his big finish. "I think personally just in terms of my mental approach for the next couple of days, that was huge. It was still a struggle today. I've been making a few kind of uncharacteristic mistakes, not sure what that is down to, maybe just the situation of what's at stake this week.
"But yeah, to make three birdies in a row will make lunch taste great, and hopefully make the next two days a little easier."
McIlory was disappointed with his finish but knew he still had a chance. "I've got a bit of an uphill battle on my hands now to try to win the tournament. But it's still very possible. I'm only five shots back with 36 holes to go, which you can make that up in you can make it up in nine holes or you can make it up, but I've just got to stay very patient and bide my time and just try to play as good as I can."