Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Ireland cruise home

Niall O'Brien ensured there were few alarms for Ireland

Max Sorensen and Kevin O'Brien each took three wickets as Ireland claimed their second win over Scotland in three days after easing to a seven-wicket victory in Belfast.

Having ended Scotland's hopes of automatic World Cup qualification on Friday, Ireland's seamers twisted the knife further by taking all 10 wickets to restrict their opponents to a paltry 165 all out after they had won the toss.

Sorensen and O'Brien took three wickets apiece, while Stuart Thompson and Eddie Richardson shared the remaining four scalps in the International Cricket Council World Cricket League Championship encounter before Ireland's batsman chased down the target in 33 overs, with Niall O'Brien ensuring there were few alarms.

The in-form Will Porterfield, who followed up his century against England with an innings of 62 on Friday, fell for just five after being cleaned up by Ian Wardlaw.

The Scotland paceman then accounted for another opener in Paul Stirling, who feathered a catch down the leg-side.

Ed Joyce and Niall O'Brien put on 69 for the third wicket before the former was bowled by off-spinner Majid Haq for 39 although that failed to disrupt Ireland's momentum.

O'Brien continued to kick on and brought up his 50 off 54 balls with a clip to square-leg off Haq and it was fitting that he struck the winning run with a single down to long leg to finish on 65 not out, with Gary Wilson (35no) providing valuable support in an unbroken 75-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

It was O'Brien's younger brother Kevin who played a large part in giving Ireland a low victory target with figures of three for 31 as Scotland's hopes of setting a large score were undermined by the steady fall of wickets.

South African-born Sorensen (three for 36) started the rot when he had Freddie Coleman lbw, while Hamish Gardiner nicked Richardson behind.

Matt Machan had reached a rather sedate 23 before hammering Kevin O'Brien straight to the seamer's sibling Niall at mid-on.

Scotland captain Preston Mommsen fell in Kevin O'Brien's next over after an attempted pull was feathered behind to leave Scotland on 61 for four.

Calum MacLeod and Richie Berrington led a fightback of sorts with a partnership of 66 for the fifth wicket before the latter fell for 35 after chipping O'Brien to wide mid-on.

That was the start of Scotland's collapse as they lost their last six wickets for the addition of 38 runs, MacLeod the next to fall having top-scored with 39 when he was cleaned up by a Richardson slower ball.

David Murphy was unbeaten on 20, but he was let down at the other end as Sorensen and Thompson (two for 20) cleaned up the lower order as Scotland were all out in 49.3 overs.

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