Balbirnie, Delany fifties down Scotland for Ireland’s first win
Gareth Delany (L) and Andrew Balbirnie during their partnership. (Image Courtesy: Cricket Ireland Twitter)

Ireland were up and running in the T20I tri-series 2019 with a four-wicket win over Scotland in Dublin on Tuesday. Andrew Balbirnie and Gareth Delany struck half-centuries as Ireland chased down the 194-run target set by Scotland under 18 overs.

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Ireland raced to 57 in four overs thanks to Delany’s explosive start, which saw him smash Mark Watt for 16 runs in the third over. Kevin O Brian struck a couple of boundaries and a six before departing for a nine-ball 17. Balbirnie joined Delany at the fall of O Brian’s wicket and added 42 in 3.5 overs. Delany upped the tempo and reached his half-century before Watt dismissed him.

But Balbirnie ensured the scoring rate did not dip and went after the bowling – smacking Michael Leask for 16 in the ninth over. He struck eight fours and three sixes and reached his fifty off 26 balls. He eventually departed for 65 making things easy for the lower order. Watt chipped in with a couple of wickets but it was merely a formality for Shane Getkate and Mark Adair to get over the line.

Earlier, Scotland were carried to 193/7 due to Calum MacLeod’s 72 off 42 balls, and lower-order contribution from Richie Berrington and Ollie Harris. George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer started the innings scoring at over 10 an over before Boyd Ranking, scalped the first wicket.

Rankin and Delany shared five wickets between themselves to keep Scotland in check but MacLeod and Harris’ 63-run partnership got them past 150. MacLeod’s wicket was the last to go down but Ireland pulled things back in the death to prevent Scotland from breaching the 200-barrier.

Brief scores: Ireland 194/6 in 17.4 overs (Andrew Balbirnie 64, Gareth Delany 52; Mark Watt 3-38) beat Scotland 193/7 in 20 overs (Calum MacLeod 72, George Munsey 34; Boyd Rankin 3-29, Gareth Delany 2-31) by four wickets.