Ireland triumph in high-scoring clash with Scotland to secure series
All-rounder Kevin O’Brien wins his 300th cap in Dubai ODI clash
Paul Stirling top-scored with 74 as Ireland equalled their highest ODI score of 331 in the victory over Scotland in Dubai. Photograph: Nezar Balout/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland made it four straight wins under new coach Graham Ford as they clinched the Desert Tri-Series with a 24-run victory over Scotland in a high scoring encounter in Dubai.
Ireland equalled their highest ODI total of 331, but they needed them all as a battling Scotland gave them a scare before finishing just short on 307.
Stirling hit 10 boundaries as he top scored with 74 – his 15th ODI half century – adding 117 in 23 overs with Balbirnie (47), before both fell in quick succession.
After a hesitant start Simi Singh soon found his range, as he and Niall O’Brien went through the gears, sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 97 in 13 overs. O’Brien (51) fell shortly after reaching his 17th ODI 50, and Singh went four balls later for 45.
There was no respite for the beleaguered Scottish attack as Kevin O’Brien – winning his 300th cap – and Gary Wilson plundered 85 in just eight overs to take the total beyond 300.
O’Brien cleared the ropes four times in a hard-hitting 46 from just 24 balls, while Wilson’s unbeaten 40 came from 31 balls (two fours, two sixes) as Ireland added 103 in the final 10 overs to post 331 for six – the same total they made against Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup.
The required rate was soon into double figures but that only spurred the big-hitting duo of Michael Leask and Calum MacLeod to new heights as they kept their supporters dreaming, smashing 95 off 59 balls to leave the equation at 68 needed from 30 balls.
However George Dockrell (two for 43) bowled Leask for 59, while Barry McCarthy accounted for MacLeod (58) shortly afterwards and the Irish could breathe again as they completed the win – their sixth successive in ODIs.
IRELAND v SCOTLAND (at ICC Academy Oval, Dubai)
Ireland 331-6 (50 ovs) (P Stirling 74, N O’Brien 51, A Balbirnie 47, K O’Brien 46, S Singh 45, G Wilson 40no; S Whittingham 3-58, S Cameron 2-64)
Scotland 307-9 (50 ovs) (M Jones 74, M Leask 59, C MacLeod 58, M Cross 33, G Munsey 30; G Dockrell 2-43, B McCarthy 2-67, P Chase 2-78)
Ireland beat Scotland by 24 runs to win the tri-series