Niall O'Brien
Niall o’Brien’s 12th One-Day International fifty took Ireland to a three wicket win over Scotland © Getty Images (File Photo)

Jan 12, 2015

Niall o’Brien’s 12th One-Day International fifty ensured Ireland got over the line and beat Scotland by three wickets in Match three of the Dubai Triangular series. Scotland bowlers put in a spirited effort with the ball but failed to close the match as Niall o’Brien with support from the lower order took the Irish home with 21 balls to spare. It was a second consecutive cliffhanger in the series and Irish have made a habit of beating teams by three wickets. Ireland have now won two out of two games in the tri nationa tournament where as Scotland lost both their matches.

Ireland dug a hole for themselves early into the run chase as William Porterfield failed to trouble the scorers to be dismissed in the first over of the Irish innings. Number three batsman Ed Joyce who’d made a crucial half century to Ireland’s cause in the previous match against Afghanistan also departed early. Paul Stirling at the other end to the attack to the Scotland bowlers amidst chaos. His breezy innings of 28 though concluded prematurely as by now Iain Wardlaw was wrecking havoc. The Irish innings was in tatters at 38 for three. Their innings had followed a similar pattern as the one against Afghanistan.

Niall o’Brien and Gary Wilson added another 42 runs before Wilson was dislodged for 21 by off spinner Michael Leask. Kevin o’Brien followed suit as he departed for 13 leaving the game in the balance at 100 for five. Andy Balbirnie was the next man in. Balbirnie had played a crucial innings in the last game helping Ireland overhaul Afghanistan’s total of 180 by the skin of their teeth. He played another useful cameo of 21 but his demise set the cat among the pigeons with 74 runs still required and only one recognised batsman at the crease. But the experience of Niall o’Brien came to the fore as he took the irish home without any further hiccups. He was ably assisted by John Mooney at the other end. The duo registered a stand of 61. It was also the second highest partnership of the match. Although Mooney was dismissed Ireland were already within touching distance of their target and they got there to win by three wickets.

Earlier Scotland scratched and prodded to 216 for nine in their fifty overs riding on the back of a resilient 86 by Matt Machan. William Porterfield had elected to bowl and the move stood vindicated as Scotland struggled get away from Ireland at any stage. Craig Young bowled with immaculate control on a pitch surprisingly assisting quick bowling as he ran through the Scotland top order. He eventually finished with figures of three for 27 in his 10 overs.

Brief scores:

Scotland 216 for 9 in 50 overs ( Matt Machan 86; Craig Young 3 for 27)  lost to Ireland 220 for 7 (Niall o’Brien 80*; Iain Wardlaw 2 for 45) by three wickets