Ireland 223 for 4 (Balbirnie 67, Niall O’Brien 55) beat Scotland 219 (Jones 87, Rankin 3-49, McCarthy 2-49) by six wickets
Half-centuries from Andy Balbirnie and Niall O’Brien, couple with a robust bowling performance led by Boyd Rankin‘s three-for, helped Ireland consign Scotland to a six-wicket defeat and register their third victory in as many matches in the ongoing tri-nation series in the UAE.
Set a target of 220, Ireland lost their captain William Porterfield to Safyaan Sharif off the second ball of the chase, but, a 103-run second-wicket stand between Paul Stirling and Balbirnie ensured the early wobble was negated. Stirling, however, fell for 38 in the 21st over before O’Brien hammered a 53-ball 55, including five fours and two sixes.
Balbirnie, on the other hand, followed up his century in the last game with a brisk 67. While both Stirling and Balbirnie fell to Tom Sole, Sharif added a second wicket to his name in O’Brien with Ireland only 22 runs away. Ed Joyce (31 off 44) and Kevin O’Brien (13 off 8) hit seven fours between them to help Ireland overhaul the target with more than 15 overs to spare.
Earlier, Ireland bowlers lent validation to their captain’s decision to bowl by stifling Scotland to 63 for 3 inside 20 overs. Barry McCarthy dealt the opposition the first jolt, sniping George Munsey for a duck in the third over. Rankin followed suit, taking the first of his three wickets in Matthew Cross, who holed out on 18. A run-out cost Richie Berrington his wicket, before debutant Michael Jones, the opener, dropped anchor to steady Scotland’s innings with a fifty stand with Calum Macleod (33 off 38). Jones motored on to score 87, clobbering nine fours in his 135-ball knock, and took his side past the 175-run mark.
Rankin then found his second wicket in Jones, following which Scotland could only add another 43 runs off the remaining 6.3 overs. Wicketkeeper Craig Wallace and Tom Sole chipped in with 34 and 20 respectively, but Scotland were rolled over for 219 in their final over. Each of Ireland’s five bowlers were among the wickets.