Ireland beat Scotland by one wicket
Scotland arrived at the Stormont ground in Belfast knowing they could come away with nothing more than two wins to remain in contention for the finalautomatic spot in the 2015 World Cup against the already qualified Irish.
After winning the toss Scotland captain Preston Mommsen elected to bat first. Captain Kyle Coetzer couldn’t make the trip after a wrist injury ruled him out.
Hamish Gardiner and Freddie Coleman opened the innings for Scotland in glorious sunshine at Stormont, Belfast for the first of two World Cricket League fixtures.
Gardiner found the first boundary of the day with a flick off his legs as Trent Johnson struggled to find his lines early on, with his first over taking 10 deliveries to complete.
Gardiner was the first Scottish wicket to fall when he pulled a short delivery from Murtagh straight to George Dockrell at mid-wicket to depart for 6 in the fifth over.
Coleman looked in good touch, striking two boundaries in the sixth over, and was joined by Matt Machan as the pair put on another 16 runs.
Max Sorensen came into the attack and struck with his first delivery as Coleman played down the wrong line and was clean bowled for 10.
Machan looked dangerous and was starting to find the gaps in the field. He took 10 runs from the ninth over, hitting Murtagh for a big six over long-on followed by a pull shot for four.
Preston Mommsen and Machan had taken the Scots past 50, but the Sussex batsman was soon on his way back to the pavilion after chopping the ball onto his stumps for 27, leaving Scotland on 56/3 in the 12th over.
Mommsen then got his head down to rebuild the innings, and together with Calum MacLeod the visitors ensured a period of calm.
Richardson’s first delivery at international level was driven to the fence by Mommsen, and the bowler came in for some more harsh treatment, by the same batsman, as he took 9 runs from his third over.
The two brought Scotland’s 100 up in the 24th over looking to take advantage of the bad ball when it came along. They brought up their 50 partnership in the 26th over with Scotland on 106/3.
MacLeod however became George Dockrell’s first victim of the day as he too chopped the ball onto his stumps for 21.
Mommsen kept going about the job quietly and opted to drive and sweep. Rob Taylor had made 11 before he looked to move the score along, only to find the hands of Kevin O’Brien at long-on.
Mommsen reached his 50 in the 36th over with a single into the leg-side with Scotland on 144/5. Berrington came down the track and holed out to long-on, departing for 7.
Murphy was totally deceived by Dockrell as the ball beat the bat but not the keeper to leave him short of his ground. Majid Haq was then Dockrell’s fourth wicket of the day as he was trapped in-front for 0.
Safyaan Sharif and Mommsen added a late flourish to guide Scotlrand past 200. Sharif was brilliantly run-out by Porterfield and Mommsen was unfortunate to finish 9 runs short of his century.
Ireland opened with the dangerous Paul Stirling and William Porterfield, with Iain Wardlaw and Safyaan Sharif opening the bowling.
Scotland had a chance to dismiss Stirling early on but the chance was put down by Machan at point after the batsman had thrown his hands at the ball.
They survived another scare in the 6th over as a chance went between first and second slip. After that the openers settled, Porterfield in particular was in an aggressive mood playing some elegant cover drives to the boundary
It was the ninth over that Ireland had reached 50 with Porterfield on 33 and Stirling on 15. Majid Haq was introduced into the attack and claimed the wicket of Stirling for 30 when he was caught by Mommsen at short-third man.
Porterfield reached a deserved 50 from only 48 balls; it was fitting that he would reach the milestone with an elegant cover-drive to the boundary.
The Irish captain added another 12 until he was brilliantly caught at point by MacLeod to depart for 62, having given Ireland a very solid start with the score on 98/2 in the 20th over.
Ed Joyce then came down the track to Haq only to be deceived by Scotland’s leading ODI wicket-taker and Murphy removed the bails to give Scotland another wicket.
Niall O’Brien was joined by Gary Wilson, but the Surrey man couldn’t make much of an impact as he gave Haq his third wicket edging behind to Murphy who took a smart catch behind the stumps for 2.
Kevin O’Brien edged behind and Scotland kept fighting. The not even the stoutest of Irish supporter would not have envisaged such a dramatic collapse - going from 92/0 to 109/6.
Yet another smart catch by Murphy standing up, this time from MacLeod’s bowling, removed Niall O’Brien before Eddie Richardson and Trent Johnston got things moving again for the home side with a 34 run partnership.
Richardson looked to go big but subsequently resulted in skying the ball to Machan at mid-on to take catch - Ireland now required 78 from 14 overs with 3 wickets remaining.
With the game still in the balance and the light fading fast, Johnston and Sorensen joined forces. Johnston’s experience showed as he made 24 playing calculated shots, and Ireland only required 50 to win from 54 balls.
However the ball was to take another twist when Johnston, who had driven the ball to the rope the ball previously, looked for the big hit, again sending the ball high and Mommsen was on hand to complete the catch.
Sorensen continued to stick in, taking singles and freeing his arms when the chances came. He and Murtagh took it down to 17 runs required from two overs after taking 11 runs from the 48th over.
There was time for another twist in the 49th over; Sorensen looked to take control of the match only to come charging down the wicket and give Murphy his fifth victim of the match, this time stumped, after the batsman had scored 31.
So it came down to the final over, Ireland needed 12 runs and Scotland needed 1 wicket. Three runs were taken from the first three deliveries and it appeared that Scotland had the edge. However a huge straight six by Murtagh cleared the advertising boards and the home side only required three from two balls.
The Middlesex batsman wasn’t going to mess around and threw the bat at the penultimate delivery which raced through point to the boundary to give Ireland the most dramatic of wins with one ball remaining.
The result means that Scotland can’t now qualify for the 2015 World Cup through automatic qualification and must now play a tournament in New Zealand in January.