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Ireland beat Scotland thanks to Kevin O’Brien’s big hitting

The Saltires fell just short despite a spirited run chase in Dubai.


Kevin O’Brien

Kevin O’Brien

Kevin O’Brien

Michael Jones made it back-to-back half-centuries despite Scotland slipping to a second defeat against Ireland.

After making 87 on debut on Tuesday, Jones led the way with 74 as the Saltires eventually fell to a spirited 24-run defeat in Dubai.

Ireland had set a daunting total of 331 but were given a scare as Jones led the way before Calum MacLeod and Michael Leask hit brisk half-centuries, but held on to maintain their winning start in the tri-nation series and leave Scotland without a point from their two games.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Ireland were put on the back foot as Will Porterfield fell to Stuart Whittingham (three for 58), before Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie combined for the second wicket.

Stirling was typically aggressive, dominating the Saltires attack with his strokeplay in a stand of 117 with Balbirnie, before the latter became Whittingham’s second, and Stirling followed shortly after for 74.

Ireland capitalised on the second half of the innings, adding 191 in the final 20 overs thanks to Niall O’Brien (51) and Simi Singh (45) while Kevin O’Brien hit 23 off the final over in a 24-ball 46 that proved crucial in the end.

Scotland took their time in reply, with George Munsey and Jones making a steady start.

Munsey and Michael Cross each made starts and when Jones fell it looked as though the chase could quickly subside at 169 for five before MacLeod (58) and Leask (59) combined to boost the total.

However, they were left with too much to do as George Dockrell kept things tight at the end, finishing with two for 43.

Head coach Grant Bradburn told cricketscotland.com: “I’m very pleased and proud of the efforts shown by our players to stay very much in the game right till the final overs today.

“During this series, we have had some forced changes, which has enabled valuable game time for new players. Michael Jones again top-scored today and has already shown strong capabilities at this level. Scott Cameron made his ODI (one-day international) debut today and looked like a bowler with immense skills with the ball.

“While no one is satisfied with a loss, the team will take away valuable learning and confidence from today.”