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MacLeod, Gardiner steer Scotland to consolation win

Mooney's 77-ball 96 goes in vain as Ireland loses by eight wickets in third and final ODI

MacLeod, Gardiner steer Scotland to consolation win - Cricket News
Calum MacLeod's unbeaten 116 guided Scotland to an eight-wicket win in the third and final ODI.
Less than twenty four hours after an open and candid interview which revealed the extent of his battle with depression, John Mooney, the Ireland allrounder, fell agonisingly short of a maiden ODI century as the side lost the final game of its three-match series with Scotland by eight wickets.

The 32-year-old was forced to return home from the tour of the Caribbean earlier this year and only this week made his return to the field after an extended break. However, his 77-ball 96, which underpinned the hosts’ performance, wasn’t enough. Calum MacLeod scored his second ton in the format as Scotland finished with a consolation win after two losses. 

Mooney was caught at point four short of three figures after keeping his side afloat with an innings of consummate quality. Fourteen boundaries, including two maximums, thrusted Ireland to 241 for 9 after it slipped to 95 for 4 in the face of some determined bowling from Scotland.

It was little surprise that Preston Mommsen duly asked Ireland to bat first under cloud-laden skies. Scotland was resolute not to let the opportunity slip and built the platform for its batsmen to flex their muscles.

The same top order that had looked iffy against the moving ball hitherto made light work of the target as they chased down 242 with minimal fuss. It was Scotland’s first ODI win in Ireland and was courtesy a disciplined bowling performance led by Majid Haq’s first five-wicket haul in the format.

The absence of Kyle Coetzer and Matt Machan was felt, but in Calum MacLeod, Scotland had an opening batsman enjoying the best form of his career. It showed here. A breakthrough season at Durham, particularly against the white ball, have raised genuine hopes that he could be a star for Scotland in the future.

MacLeod formed a prolific partnership with Hamish Gardiner. The pair saw off the initial threat of Max Sorensen and Craig Young before taking advantage of the bountiful circumstances as they matched each other, blow for blow. That was until Gardiner, eleven short of a first century, fell attempting to cut the part-time spin of Andrew Balbirnie. It was too little, too late for Ireland.

While they were able to negate the early advances of Scotland’s new ball bowlers, Haq’s introduction in the 17th over paid instant dividends. Stuart Thompson feathered the offspinner behind to Cross and four balls later, Andrew Poynter missed a straight one that went on with the arm. Mooney, however, added steel to the innings.

A towering six down the ground off MacLeod set the wheels in motion as he accelerated through the gears. Kevin O’Brien’s departure, the ball after the second drinks break, halted Ireland’s recovery after it had slipped to 95 for 4, but Mooney wasn’t deterred.

It was his first half-century in four years and in stepping down the pitch to Haq and crunching an expansive drive through cover, he brought up his highest ODI score, overtaking his previous best of 55. The fireworks were to come though. An audacious reverse sweep which flew over the rope had the crowd purring and when he took Michael Leask for 12 runs in the 46th over, he moved within touching distance of three figures. It wasn't to be.

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