Ireland edge Scotland by 1 wicket in last-over thriller

William Porterfield (left) set the tone for Ireland’s one-wicket win over Scotland on Friday © Getty Images (File Photo)

Sep 6, 2013

William Porterfield’s captain’s knock coupled with final-over blitz from Tim Murtagh helped Ireland go past Scotland’s total of 223 for nine and secure a thrilling one-wicket victory in the ICC World Cricket League Championship at Belfast on Friday. Ireland went past the total on the penultimate delivery of the innings, putting Scotland’s direct qualification to the ICC World Cup 2015 in jeopardy.

After the Ireland bowlers had done well to restrict the opposition for 223, their opening batsmen — Porterfield and Paul Stirling —were off to a solid start. They added 95 runs for the first wicket before Stirling was caught by Preston Mommsen at short third man to give Majid Haq a wicket.

The breakthrough turned out to be vital as Ireland failed to string together another big partnership. The half-centurion Porterfield (62) fell just two overs after Stirling had walked back to the hut. At this stage Ireland were on 98 for two in the 20th over. Scotland pulled things back in the next 10 overs as they bagged four more wickets and gave away just over 30 runs. Half the Irish side was back in the pavilion with a little less than a 100 runs to get.

At 146 for seven, scales were tipping in favour of Scotland as they began to plot a move to wrap up the tail. However, the sparse crowd at Belfast was to witness a turnaround.  

Ireland’s go-to man Trent Johnston came to the crease and was joined by Max Sorensen. The duo added 34 runs from six overs to keep their side alive in the contest.  Scotland’s Safyaan Sharif broke this partnership at a crucial time by getting rid of Johnston. At his stage, Ireland were on 180 for eight in the 41st over, still needing 44 runs to win. Sorensen carried on in the company of Tim Murtagh.

This duo seemed like they would rob Scotland off a victory but Matt Machan struck to remove Sorensen with 16 runs to get from nine deliveries.

It boiled down to 12 runs to win from one over with just one wicket in hand. The first three balls of the final over bowled by Rob Taylor could fetch Ireland just three singles. The pressure was on Murtagh, the man on strike.

He responded magnificently by staying back in his crease and launching the ball over the long-off boundary for a six. Ireland still needed three from the last two deliveries and Murtagh finished it off in the penultimate ball with a boundary through point to give his side a one-wicket win.

Brief scores:

Scotland 223 for 9 in 50 overs (Preston Mommsen 91*, Matt Machan 27;  George Dockrell 4 for 24) lost to Ireland 225 for 9 in 49.5 overs ( William Porterfield 62, Max Sorensen 31; Majid Haq 3 for 26) by 1 wicket.
 
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