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Irish can look to positives in late defeat


In vain: Gary Wilson hit 22 for Ireland but they fell to defeat by an agonising one run
In vain: Gary Wilson hit 22 for Ireland but they fell to defeat by an agonising one run

By Ian Callender

Ireland lost two wickets to the final two balls to go down by one run in their final warm-up game ahead of the T20 World Cup qualifying tournament.

In reply to Scotland's imposing 210-8, Ireland were 201-7 after 19 overs and when Mark Adair hit the fourth ball of the final over to the boundary they were within three runs of completing a superb chase.

But, next ball, Adair was bowled by Safyaan Sharif and David Delany's attempt to hit the winning runs resulted only in a leg bye, with the batsman run out attempting an impossible second to tie the scores.

But without Paul Stirling and Boyd Rankin in the line-up, this was another impressive Ireland showing and augurs well.

They lost Kevin O'Brien first ball but Andrew Balbirnie hit 70 from 48 balls (six fours and three sixes) and Gareth Delany and Harry Tector both scored at a strike rate of over 200 as Ireland reached halfway at 110-3.

Gary Wilson was out in the next over for 22 off 14, but although Simi Singh lasted only six balls, Adair and George Dockrell took 25 off the 17th over and looked as if they had done enough until Sharif's late, late intervention.

Scotland opener George Munsey had dominated the first quarter of the match, hitting 86 off 41 balls with nine fours and five sixes, before Delany, in his first match since the Tri-Series last month, had him caught at deep mid-wicket in his second over.

The young Clontarf paceman came back for the final two overs, took two more wickets and conceded just five runs from the last. But in the end the difference was a six. Both teams hit 25 boundaries, but Scotland had 11 sixes, one more than Ireland.

Scores: Scotland 210-8 (G Munsey 86, O Hairs 39; D Delany 3-35, G Dockrell 2-36, M Adair 1-25 (2 overs), S Thompson 1-32 (3), G Delany 1-33) Ireland 209-9 (A Balbirnie 70, M Adair 45, H Tector 22, G Wilson 22, G Delany 20, G Dockrell 13; H Tahir 3-32). Scotland won by one run.

• Next year's North West Premiership will have nine teams with Ballyspallen keeping their place, having won their appeal against the decision to award Glendermott the points in the abandoned game between the teams last month.

Ardmore will join last year's eight teams, after winning the Championship, and next year's second tier will consist of the remaining six senior sides who will play each other three times.

Meanwhile, former Ireland coach Phil Simmons is back in charge of West Indies.

Simmons left Ireland after the 2015 World Cup for the one job he couldn't refuse, but he lasted less than a year after criticising the selections of a tour party.

However, a new regime is in place in West Indies cricket and current president Ricky Skerritt said: "Bringing Phil Simmons back is not just righting a past wrong but I am confident that CWI has chosen the right man for the job at the right time."

Ireland will be one of Simmons' first foes as the teams play three ODIs and three T20s in the Caribbean in January.

Zimbabwe have been formally reinstated as a Full Member at this week's ICC Board Meeting. It means Ireland's tour, for a Test and five T20Is next April, will go ahead but their hopes of replacing them at the U19 World Cup finals are over.

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