Cricket Scotland @CricketScotland
July 24, 2023 11 months
ICC World Cup Qualifier Europe - Scotland v Italy 230724 Scotland's Brandon McMullen congratulates Oli Hairs on reaching his 100 as Scotland take on Italy in the ICC World Cup Qualifier Europe at the Grange, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK Credit: Cricket Scotland/Ian Jacobs

Oli Hairs hit an amazing unbeaten, record-breaking century as Scotland made it three wins from three in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Europe Qualifier on Monday.

Hairs made 73 versus Germany on the opening day of the tournament last Thursday at Goldenacre, but topped that in spectacular style at Grange, with a career-high 127 not out from just 53 balls against the Italians. 

The three figures came up for Hairs in 40 balls, just pipping the 41 balls faced by George Munsey for his century against the Netherlands in 2019, creating a new Scottish men’s international record for the fastest hundred.

It also equalled the Scotland men’s T20 international record score by an individual, also held by Munsey from his innings four years ago.

Brandon McMullen, promoted up the order to number three, weighed in with an excellent 96 and shared in a 183 run partnership with player of the match Hairs, as Scotland posted 245-2 – their second highest ever total in men’s T20 internationals.

It was a dominant performance from start to finish by the home side, who then turned it on with the ball to roll their opponents for 90 all out, giving the Scots a 155 run win.

Gavin Main, who took five wickets in the ‘second half’, said:  “Watching the way Oli and Brandon batted in the first half of the game was a pleasure, they really took things to Italy with some great shots and 245 was a strong total.

“As a bowling and fielding unit we wanted to go out after the break with intent and I thought we did that. It was nice personally for me to get five wickets, but what was more pleasing from a team perspective was the way we kept the pressure on.

“There is a good feeling in the camp just now, we are training and playing well and enjoying our cricket, but we are taking things one game at a time.

“Next up is Austria on Tuesday and we want to take momentum from this game into that one now and keep building.”

Italy won the toss and put Scotland into bat, with the hosts naming the same XI as that which won the first two games against Germany and Jersey.

Munsey got things up and running at the end of the first over with a four off Grant Stewart.

Hairs and Munsey both hit fours in the second over off Harry Manenti before the first six of the day arrived at the start of the third over, Hairs taking a liking to Gareth Berg’s bowling.

Two sixes came in the fourth over and by the end of the fifth over it was 55-0.

Crishan Kalugamage caught Munsey for 12 off the bowling of Stewart at the start of the next over, but that just kick started the Hairs-McMullen combination.

By the ninth over Hairs reached 50, and hit four boundaries in four balls off Berg. In the next over a sweep for four by Hairs off Jaspreet Singh brought up the team’s 100, 109-1 being the score at the halfway mark of the innings.

McMullen got to his 50 with a single off Stewart in the 14th over and by the end of that set the team had reached 161-1.

Hairs was on 95 by that point, but it was McMullen who continued with the big hits in the next over, two sixes coming in two balls off Berg.

With Hairs on 98 heading into the 16th over it was only going to take one more swipe to get him to his first international hundred.

And it came off the first ball of that over, pulling Singh for four to bring up three figures off just 40 balls with 12 fours and four sixes.

The runs just kept on coming and two big sixes by Hairs off Berg in the 18thover meant that the Italian captain had gone for 60 from his four overs.

McMullen moved to 96 with a boundary off the bowling of Harry Manenti in the 19th over before, off the very next ball, he was caught by Marcus Campopiano to just fall short of his own three figure tally.

Hairs was joined by Michael Leask at the crease in the final over and seven more runs were added.

As Hairs – who had hit 14 fours and eight sixes in a breathless knock – left the field he was given a standing ovation and anyone who was at the ground to see it was privileged to be there.

In reply, Italy took seven runs off the first over, but then they lost their first wicket off the first ball of the second over.

The ball was an absolute beauty from Brad Currie, Benjamin Manenti was gone and when Safyaan Sharif got in on the act in the third over with two scalps Italy were 22-3.

The men to fall to Sharif were Campopiano and Wayne Madsen, both caught by Main.

Two more wickets then came in over four, Brad Currie having Justin Mosca caught by Berrington and then Harry Manenti being run out.

The Italians were in major bother at 26-5, but Scotland were in no mood to take their foot off the accelerator and Main got in on the act in the seventh over when AJ Mosca was caught by Brandon McMullen.

Two in two balls came for Main in the ninth over and he then went on to take further scalps in the 11th and 13th overs to finish things off.

The last man out was Stewart for a battling 4, with Main’s figures of 5-26 the second best ever by a Scottish male bowler in a T20 international, the best being 5-24 from Ali Evans in 2015 versus the Netherlands.

In the other early match on Monday, Denmark beat Austria at Goldenacre as 97-9 played 98-2.

Scotland are next in action on Tuesday at 10.30am versus Austria at Goldenacre.

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