Ireland and Scotland played out a dramatic tie at the Netherlands T20I Tri-Series.
Scotland seamer Safyaan Sharif held his nerve at the death to deny Ireland victory in a high-scoring encounter at Deventer.
Ireland looked strong favourites heading into the final over, requiring seven runs to win and Kevin O'Brien, who had already hit three sixes, on strike.
However, O'Brien holed out to Dylan Budge in the deep to the first delivery of the final over – the Scotland fielder producing a superb piece of work on the boundary, throwing the ball up as he crossed the ropes before safely pouching the catch as he returned to the field of play – and Sharif then restricted Stuart Poynter and Stuart Thompson to five runs off the remaining deliveries, the latter scrambling two from the last ball to tie the scores.
Scotland had posted a commanding total of 185/4 – their highest in T20Is against Ireland – after winning the toss and electing to bat. Openers George Munsey (46 off 25) and captain Kyle Coetzer (54 off 41) got the Scots off to a flier, reaching 93 in 8.1 overs before the former was dismissed by George Dockrell, caught at gully, on the left-arm spinner's 50th appearance in the format.
Calum MacLeod (46* off 39) picked up the baton and kept the scoreboard ticking with his skipper until Coetzer was caught at deep mid-wicket off Simi Singh after registering his seventh T20I half-century.
The loss of their openers stalled Scotland's progress a little but some late blows from Matthew Cross (18 off 10) took them to a total they would have been happy with at the start of their innings.
Paul Stirling had starred in Ireland's victory over the same opposition the previous day, hitting 51 from 29 deliveries, and he showed he was in no mood to mess around as he deposited the second ball of the innings over the ropes.
James Shannon and Andrew Balbirnie both fell cheaply to Sharif (2/31) and Stuart Whittingham (2/33) respectively but Stirling was undeterred, motoring his way to a career-best 81 from 41 deliveries – including five fours and six sixes – as he and Simi Singh (26 off 23) put on a third-wicket stand of 68 which swung the game in Ireland's favour.
When both fell in quick succession, captain Gary Wilson (20 off 14) and O'Brien (28 off 17) had to draw on all their experience to get the innings back on track and even after the loss of the former, Ireland still looked well on course.
However, Sharif showed all his class in the final over to keep Poynter and Thompson in check after removing O'Brien to keep Scotland's chances of winning the tri-series alive.
Next up Scotland play the Netherlands twice in two days, on June 19 and June 20 in Amstelveen.
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