Ireland 331/6 (50 overs) P Stirling 74, N O’Brien 51, A Balbirnie 47, K O’Brien 46, S Whittingham 3-58, S Cameron 2-64 beat Scotland 307/9 (50 overs) M Jones 74, M Leask 59, C MacLeod 58, M Cross 33, G Munsey 30; G Dockrell 2-4, by 24 runs. [Scorecard]
Ireland claimed a 24-run win against Scotland to collect the Tri-Series as they completed four wins from four in a high scoring contest in Dubai.
Scotland made two changes from the first match with Michael Leask and Scott Cameron coming in for Tom Sole and Safyaan Sharif. Upon winning the toss, Ireland decided to bat first on a good-looking wicket.
Stuart Whittingham earned the early breakthrough with the new ball as he had William Porterfield caught by Scott Cameron for 6.
Ireland’s batting line-up then progressed through the gears as Paul Stirling plundered 74 and Niall O’Brien made 51, with four other Irish batsmen also reaching the 40s.
It was a day to remember for Cameron as he claimed his first two wickets in international cricket by dismissing both O’Brien brothers. Whittingham was the pick of the bowlers with 3/58 as Ireland posted an imposing total of 331/6 after 50 overs.
In reply, the Scottish innings got off to a steady start with Michael Jones and George Munsey taking the score to 67/1 before Munsey was dismissed in the 14th over.
Jones, on the back of his maiden international score of 87 against the same opposition on Tuesday, continued where he had left off, stroking 74 runs from 94 deliveries to keep Scotland in with a chance.
Matthew Cross made 33 before Calum MacLeod and Michael Leask launched an assault on the Irish bowlers scoring 95 runs in 9.4 overs, with Leask striking 59 runs from 35 deliveries, including 5 fours and 2 sixes on the way.
As Scotland pushed for boundaries towards the end of the innings, Leask departed, clean bowled by George Dockrell as Ireland claimed three quick wickets to take the game away from their opponents, but not before MacLeod reached his respective half-century.
In the end, it proved just too high a total for the Scots to chase down, but they won’t be too disheartened with their efforts with the bat.
At the conclusion of the game Head Coach Grant Bradburn said, “I’m very pleased and proud of the efforts shown by our players to stay very much in the game right till the final overs today. As a group, there was a step up in aggressive intent today in all facets of the game. We weren’t as precise as we expect with our bowling and fielding today which proved the fine margin in the contest.
During this series, we have had some forced changes, which has enabled valuable game time for new players. Michael Jones again top scored today and has already shown strong capabilities at this level. Scott Cameron made his ODI debut today and looked like a bowler with immense skills with the ball.
In the closing stages Michael Leask and Calum MacLeod combined for an outstanding partnership of 95 which contained impressive power hitting and clever placement.
While no one is satisfied with a loss, the team will take away valuable learning and confidence from today.”
It was a learning experience for the young Scots, who average 25 years of age in comparison to their opponents experienced 30, but it would have been encouraging to see several strong performances as competition for places at the World Cup Qualifier heats up.
Scotland will now conclude their Tri-Series with two games against hosts UAE on Sunday and Tuesday and will welcome back Kyle Coetzer to the side.