European neighbours Ireland and Scotland lock horns in what is expected to be an entertaining four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup match that starts in Dublin on Wednesday.
Three-time winner Ireland has already qualified for the final of the first-class tournament that will be played in December, while Scotland needs to collect maximum points from this outing to keep its slim hopes of reaching the final alive.
Scotland, which won the inaugural tournament in 2004, currently sits in third position and trails second-placed Afghanistan by 18 points. For Scotland to reach the final, it must score maximum points and then hope Afghanistan doesn’t bag any points in its final match against Kenya, which starts on 6 October.
If Scotland doesn’t collect maximum points in Dublin, defending champion Afghanistan will seal a place in the final irrespective of how its match against Kenya pans out.
Since the inception of the tournament, the two top Associate sides have met at this level five times, with Scotland winning the 2004 clash by eight wickets and Ireland bouncing back the following year to clinch the tie by three runs. The matches in the 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 events ended in draws.
In the ongoing tournament, both sides have played six matches each. Ireland has defeated Namibia (by five wickets), Canada (by an innings and 11 runs), Kenya (by 10 runs), Netherlands (by 279 runs) and has drawn against Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while Scotland’s success has been against the UAE (by seven wickets) and Kenya (by 152 runs) while it drew its matches against Netherlands and Namibia.
Scotland’s only defeat has been against Afghanistan (by an innings and five runs), while its match against Canada was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Ireland captain William Porterfield, looking forward to the match, said: “There are a few new faces; a few exciting new faces coming in. We’ve got a couple of young seamers coming in who haven’t played a lot.
“They’re knocking on the door and putting in the performances in provincial cricket, so it’s exciting times are far as I’m concerned and I’m looking forward to an exciting week of cricket and am hoping to see what they’ve got to offer.”
Ireland (from) – William Porterfield (captain), John Anderson, Andrew Balbirnie, Christopher Dougherty, Andrew McBrine, Graeme McCarter, John Mooney, Kevin O’Brien, Stuart Poynter, Edward Richardson, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Andrew White and Craig Young
Scotland (from) – Preston Mommsen (captain), Richard Berrington, Frederick Coleman, Alasdair Evans, Hamish Gardiner, Gordon Goudie, Majid Haq, Moneeb Iqbal, Callum MacLeod, Matthew Machan, Safyaan Sharif, Craig Wallace and Iain Wardlaw
Umpires – Johan Cloete and Richard Smith
Match referee – David Jukes
For more information on the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2011-2013, please click here.