Ireland loses by six wickets in third game as visiting side overhauls 167-run target with 11 balls to spare
Matthew Cross proved to be the difference once again between Ireland and Scotland in the third Twenty20 International at the Bready Cricket Club Ground in Ireland on Saturday (June 20).
Chasing 167 for victory, Scotland, who won the toss and opted to field, cantered to a six-wicket win, sealing the four-match series 2-0. Cross, fresh from a 34-ball 60 in the first game, hammered 48 off 30 balls as the side got across the line with 11 balls to spare.
Scotland was jolted early after Tryone Kane bowled George Munsey on the second ball of the innings. Cross, buoyed by his current form, started positively, crashing his second ball to the boundary. Kyle Coetzer (34 off 22) too kept the runs flowing as the duo added 73 runs in 7.3 overs to put the visiting side in a position of strength.
Looking for a wicket, Kevin O’Brien, the captain, introduced George Dockrell (3 for 21). The move paid off immediately as the left-arm spinner had Coetzer stumped in his very first over, the eighth of the innings, and then had Cross caught behind in his next over.
From 74 for 1, Scotland slipped to 87 for 3 as Dockrell kept things tight and slipped in a few quiet overs. But there were too many loose balls on offer at the other end. Preston Mommsen (47 off 29 not out) and Richard Berrington (20 not out) took advantage of that and stitched an unbeaten 67-run stand to guide the team to victory.
Earlier, Ireland got off to a less than ideal start. Stuart Poynter failed to get going once again and was caught behind off Safyaan Sharif for 11. Soon after, John Anderson’s innings was cut short by a moment of brilliance on the field by Munsey. Anderson, on three, tried to pull a well-directed bouncer, but Munsey took a good low catch in the fourth over.
With the scorecard reading 20 for 2, the team needed a steady head. Andrew Balbirnie (31) and Andrew Poynter ensured there were no further hiccups and in the process added 45 runs in 5.4 overs. Andrew Poynter was particularly aggressive in his approach and looked set for a big one, but his promising innings was cut short when he was caught at third man for a well-made 36 off 24 balls off Leask in the tenth over.
Kevin O’Brien scored a handy 29-ball 36 but with score 129 for 5 at the end of the 16th over, Ireland needed quick runs to post a healthy total.
Kane, playing only his third T20I, stood up and smacked 26 off 17 balls to muscle the team past 150.
After the second game was washed out without a ball being bowled, the series was extended to a four-match affair. Both teams will meet for the last game on Sunday at the same venue.