Image Credit: Peter Della Penna/ESPNcricinfo
George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer put on a record-breaking opening stand of 109 runs to chase down 181 and secure a 6-wicket win over Ireland in our second game of the quadrangular series.
Having won the toss and elected to field, Kyle Coetzer asked Paul Stirling’s men to bat at the Al Amarat Cricket Stadium, hoping to recover from the loss to the Netherland’s in Scotland’s opening game.
The pitch looked well suited for batting after Scotland’s opening bowlers struggled to take wickets and Ireland’s openers, Stirling and O’Brien, recorded an opening stand of 115 runs from 70 balls – Ireland’s highest first-wicket partnership in T20I cricket.
It looked as if Scotland were heading for the same fortunes as the Netherlands game, with 11.4 overs bowled until the first wicket fell – Mark Watt making the breakthrough to remove O’Brien, falling for an aggressive 65 off 38 balls having been caught by Michael Leask. Ireland soon slipped from 115-1 to 138-5 in the 17th over thanks to an excellent return of 3/26 from the left-arm orthodox spinner, who was well supported from Richie Berrington, the experienced T20 campaigner returning figures of 0/26 from his 4-over spell.
Despite the late flurry of wickets, Ireland were able to take 41 runs from the last 3 overs to reach 180/7 – a total which looked as if it would take some power-hitting from Scotland’s openers to chase down.
Continuing his explosive form from the Netherland’s game, George Munsey got Scotland’s run chase off to a flyer – helping himself to 13 runs from Simi Singh’s first over for the Irish.
Trying to stem the runs, Ireland rotated five bowlers in the opening stages of the game to no avail – the Scotland openers accelerating to reach a destructive 81/0 after the power play.
Munsey was the first to reach his half-century into the 9th over of Scotland’s reply, striking at 192.30 with six 4s and two 6s to blast his way to 50 from just 26 deliveries. The destructive batsman departed the next ball, falling to Getkate having been caught behind for 50 from 27.
Kyle Coetzer – playing a true captain’s innings – bettered Munsey’s feat to reach his 50 off just 24 balls, taking his side to 119/1 at the half-way point in Scotland’s reply. Not phased by the dismissal of his opening partner, Coetzer was joined by Calum MacLeod before being bowled for a sensational 74 from 38 (which included nine 4s and four 6s) – Rankin the man to remove him for Ireland.
Scotland too suffered a late flurry of wickets in the middle overs of the game, Berrington (0) and Cross (0) being removed in quick succession to bring Craig Wallace and Calum MacLeod together at the crease after 15 overs, with just 33 runs needed from the last 30 deliveries.
After 18 overs, MacLeod (29*) and Wallace (18*) needed just 8 runs from the next 12 balls to secure victory and register Scotland’s first win of the series after the opening defeat to the Netherlands.
On-strike after 18.3 overs and with Scotland needing just 6 more to win, MacLeod smashed Chase over the rope for victory to pick up 2 points in the quadrangular series and move Scotland up to 2nd in the table.
Reacting to the win, Acting Head Coach, Toby Bailey, said:
“The team talked about the statements which they wanted to make against Ireland. We know we’ve got a poor record against them and to go out there in the way we did is fantastic. We addressed those issues honestly as a squad and talked about the messages and statements we wanted to create during the game.
“Ireland played pretty well – Stirling and O’Brien at the top of the innings bashed us around and batted brilliantly. But, it was so pleasing to see the way we came back into the game. We held our nerve at critical moments and we restricted them to 180, which at one point looked as if it was going to be above 200. Richie Berrington and Mark Watt in the middle played really well and brought us back into the game.
“With our batting, we look to dominate. George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer absolutely smashing the ball is scary. What’s really pleasing is that they didn’t just perform in the power play – they batted right through the innings and really took the game away from Ireland.
It was pleasing to see that Calum MacLeod and Craig Wallace calmly brought us home again – especially with Wallace bringing the new skills he has worked hard on this winter into game situations.
“We’ve got a really important game against Oman in two days time. We will review what we’ve done and what we need to work on against Oman. We’re looking forward to playing them.”
Scotland play their last game of the quadrangular series against Oman on Sunday (09:45).