13 January 2015
Ireland survives scare for three-wicket win
Niall’s unbeaten 80 trumps Machan’s gritty 86 as Scotland falls to three-wicket loss, its second in Dubai tri-series
Niall O'Brien’s unbeaten 80 helped Ireland secure a three-wicket win against Scotland in its second One-Day International.
With two wins in as many matches, Ireland now leads the points table, while Scotland fell to its second consecutive loss, Matt Machan’s gritty 86 going in vain.
Ireland did not get off to the strongest of starts after its bowlers restricted Scotland to 216 for 9. The team lost William Porterfield, the opener, and Ed Joyce even before the total reached double figures. While Iain Wardlaw sent Porterfield back in the second ball of the innings, Joyce, who scored a half-century against Afghanistan in the previous game, failed to replicate his heroics as he was bowled by Rob Taylor.
Paul Stirling then took the attack to Scotland, hitting three fours and a six in his 21-ball 28. Stirling’s wicket in the seventh over brought the score to 38 for 3 before a steady 42-run partnership between Gary Wilson and Niall put the chase on track again.
Then, however, Ireland made a complete hash of what should have been a comfortable run chase. Michael Leask accounted for Wilson, while Kevin O’Brien was caught behind off Richie Berrington. Ireland was struggling at 100 for 5 in 22.1 overs.
But Scotland’s low score meant that Ireland had time on its side, and Niall and Andy Balbirnie focussed on rotating the strike, while hitting the occasional boundary. After Balbirnie (20) was trapped lbw by Majid Haq, Niall and John Mooney (36 off 45 balls) collaborated in a 61-run stand to quell any hopes Scotland might have had and the target was overhauled with 21 balls to spare.
Earlier, Scotland, having been inserted, got off to a less than ideal start with Calum MacLeod and Kyle Coetzer, the openers, dismissed inside three overs with just 11 runs on the board. Craig Young, the right-arm pacer, first bowled MacLeod for nought in the opening over, before having Coetzer caught in the slips soon after.
Mooney struck in the next over, when Hamish Gardiner went for a big shot only to edge it to Gary Wilson, leaving Scotland stuttering at 17 for 3 in six overs.
Preston Mommsen, the Scotland captain, and Machan, attempted a brief resurrection with a 27-run fourth-wicket stand, before Young sent Mommsen back for 16. Berrington (28) and Machan then consolidated with a patient 65-run stand before Berrington was dismissed against the run of play.
The untimely run-out of Mathew Cross saw Ireland assume a position of total command. However, Machan held the innings together, scoring 86 off 120 balls. In trying to up the scoring rate, he fell to Mooney in the 47th over as Scotland crawled to a below-par total.
Young was the pick of the Scotland bowlers, returning 3 for 27, while Mooney and Cusack took two wickets each.
The fourth match of the tournament pits Scotland and Afghanistan against each other on Wednesday.
To see the full scorecard of the match between Ireland and Scotland in Dubai, please click here.
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