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Irish losses leave little comfort for Bracewell


By Ian Callender

Ireland coach John Bracewell was left searching for the positives after Ireland did not get the chance to claim a consolation victory in the Twenty20 series in Bready - the final game yesterday, like the second on Friday, was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Saturday's extra match, which the Scots won by six wickets, earned them a 2-0 victory and it was the new kid on the block who gave the not quite so new Ireland coach the biggest plus from the series.

"Tyrone Kane jumped the queue (into the first choice line-up)," said Bracewell.

"He genuinely put down a marker in all parts of the game. His fielding was outstanding, he bowled brilliantly, because he bowled to a plan, which was straight, and batted really intelligently going into the death overs.

"He is not a big hitter but he showed real cricket nous as to where he wanted to hit the ball.

"He was a real winner if we were looking for something to come out of the tournament."

The pace bowling was the biggest disappointment, "we were exposed", the coach admitted - but here, too, it was a learning experience for the New Zealander, just two weeks out from the World Twenty20 qualifying tournament.

"You can become complacent by winning and it's easier to review when you are losing games of cricket. And it was pretty easy where we lost those games of cricket," he added.

"The stats will show that we were beaten in the powerplays with the bat - by about 20 runs in each game - and ball and that's an area we need to address before the qualifiers."

"Both sides lost the same amount of wickets, both sides averaged five to six wickets but we were not striking up top.

"The batters are getting better (in T20 games) and bowlers have to catch up, but we have to get a bit craftier and see where we can work that out in the next two weeks, how we can work out the conditions in our favour and who is going to be our best options going into that tournament."

As on Friday, the toss took place - Kevin O'Brien won his first and asked Scotland to bat - but the rain arrived before the game could start and it did not stop for long enough to allow a ball to be bowled, but Ireland had left out Craig Young and Graeme McCarter from their 13-man squad although Bracewell insisted nothing should be read into that.

"Basically all our bowlers were going to play two games each," said Bracewell.

"I wanted to have a look at what we have and today I wanted to see George (Dockrell) and Andy (McBrine) bowl together, because once the pitches start to wear in the qualifying tournament - and there are two games a day on them - two spinners may come in very handy.

"So I wanted to see that combination and that was a disappointment about the rain today that I didn't get that opportunity and they didn't get the opportunity to work out.

"But, we need to find a way to take wickets up front with an attacking mentality and they may need a bit of adjustment from red ball to white ball which doesn't swing as much."

Saturday's score: Ireland 166-6 (A Poynter 36, K O'Brien 36, A Balbirnie 31, T Kane 26 not out; S Sharif 2-26) Scotland 167-4 (18.1 overs, M Cross 48, P Mommsen 47 not out, K Coetzer 34, R Berrington 20 not out; G Dockrell 3-21). Scotland won by 6 wickets.

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