Ireland take WCL title with 7 wicket win
On an overcast morning Scotland won the toss and elected to bat first in Stormont for the second World Cricket League match against rivals Ireland.
Scotland made one change from the team that narrowly lost to Ireland in their dramatic 50 over match two days earlier with Gordon Drummond coming in for Rob Taylor.
Hamish Gardiner and Freddie Coleman opened the batting and in the second over of the day Gardiner struck the first boundary with a cut shot through point off Sorensen. He repeated the same shot the following ball with the same result as Scotland ended on 12/0 after 2 overs.
Stuart Thompson opened the bowling for Ireland and hit tight lines early on – his first six overs only conceding 13 runs.
Coleman was trapped in front during the fourth over of the day by Max Sorensen. Gardiner stuck in and made his way to 18 before he edged a delivery from Richardson behind to Gary Wilson to depart for 18 from 41 balls.
Machan again looked like he would be a thorn in the Irish side scoring 23, until he found the hands of Niall O’Brien taking a low catch at mid-off from his brothers bowling.
Scotland then lost their captain four runs later attempting to pull a short delivery from Kevin O’Brien, only to feather the ball to Wilson behind the stumps and leave Scotland on 61/4 in the 21st over.
Richie Berrington and Calum MacLeod looked to get things back on track and boundaries seemed hard to come by. A straight drive by Berrington in the 31st over took the score to 87/4 after a period of 16 overs without a boundary.
The 100 came up in the 33rd over but Berrington then offered a simple catch to George Dockrell at wide mid-on after looking set to launch an assault going into the final 10 overs of the innings.
MacLeod tried to go big only to miss the ball which crashed into middle stump leaving Scotland in trouble at 145/6 in the 45th over.
Murphy recorded his highest ODI score in a Scotland shirt with an unbeaten 20, including a thumping straight drive off O’Brien, but the other batsmen struggled to get the ball away.
Safyaan Sharif, Majid Haq, Gordon Drummond couldn’t make double figures and when Iain Wardlaw was bowled for 0 with 3 balls remaining Scotland were all out for 165.
Ireland opened with the usual pairing of William Porterfield and Paul Stirling, while Scotland had Wardlaw and Sharif opening the bowling.
A fired up Wardlaw had the in-form Porterfield on his way back to pavilion after taking the top of off stump in the third over.
Stirling found the first boundary for the home side with a powerful drive off the back-foot from Sharif in the fourth over.
Ed Joyce joined Stirling and took the score to 22/1 after six overs. The Middlesex batsman was then dismissed attempting to pull Wardlaw but nicked the ball through to Murphy and the umpire raised the finger.
Niall O’Brien and Ed Joyce looked settled at the crease as the pair brought up the Irish 50 in the 11th over after the players had come off for a short rain delay.
The pair took the score to 85/2 in the 16th over, but not before O’Brien and Joyce had offered two slip chances but, unfortunately for Scotland, Haq and Mommsen couldn’t hold on to the opportunities.
Eventually Joyce missed a delivery by Haq and had his off-stump disturbed with 75 runs still required after Haq had produced a wicket maiden.
Another wicket almost followed as the batsmen scampered through for a single only to see Berrington’s throw narrowly miss the stumps with O’Brien out of his ground.
Ireland’s 100 came up in the 20th over with an edge through the slips and moving O’Brien onto 40. Wilson who has been struggling for form recently, took two boundaries from Haq’s seventh over, including a one bounce four through mid-wicket.
The halfway point of the Irish innings came and the home side only required 40 runs for victory with seven wickets in hand.
O’Brien reached his half century, coming from 54 balls with a single into the leg-side. The pair ensured that there would be no further wickets for the visitors as Ireland reached the total in the 33rd over with O’Brien on 65 and Wilson on 36.
Preston Mommsen said at the conclusion at the match, “We have played some good cricket over the two matches, but unfortunately although our batsmen have got starts nobody has been able to go on and make the big score that was needed.
We need to regroup again but we still have an opportunity to go to a World Cup with the qualifying tournament in New Zealand. Now we need to regroup and reassess our plans.
We have played a lot of good cricket over this tournament, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. We’ve got the T20 qualifiers ahead, the change of format will be good for us and it’s yet another opportunity to go to a World Cup so we will be looking forward to that.”
Scotland now travel down to Dublin where they will take on Ireland in the Intercontinental Cup starting on Wednesday.