Wednesday 24 May 2017

Stirling efforts in vain as Scots put Ireland bowlers to sword

CRICKET

Gerard Hughes

PAUL STIRLING scored his second century in consecutive one-day internationals yesterday, but his rapid 113 wasn't enough to prevent Ireland losing to Scotland by five wickets in a high-scoring thriller in Edinburgh.

Stirling belted six sixes and 10 fours and Alex Cusack and Andrew Poynter weighed in with half-centuries, but astonishingly an Ireland total of 320-8 -- their third highest ever -- proved inadequate.

Scotland raced to 100 without loss in the 15th over and after Boyd Rankin had regained the initiative with a two-wicket burst, Richie Berrington smashed a 20-ball half-century to send the underdogs towards a victory that was achieved with nine balls to spare.

Their 323-5 was 30 runs more than Scotland had ever managed before against any team and ended a seven-match winning streak by Ireland over their oldest rivals.

Nothing had seemed less likely at the start of the day as Stirling, who scored 109 against Pakistan in his previous official ODI innings, and William Porterfield made light of good bowling conditions after being put in.

Porterfield skied a catch on 21, but Stirling and Cusack (71) maintained the pace with a partnership of 119 and understudy Poynter made the most of Niall O'Brien's recall by Northants by stroking 51 from 34 balls.

Maybe Ireland were over-confident at half-time,but Scotland had certainly slipped the leash by the time spinner George Dockrell had Fraser Watts lbw for 54 to end an opening stand of 129.

Rankin gave Ireland hope by bowling Kyle Coetzer for 89 and having Calum MacLeod caught hooking in his next over, but crucially Scotland kept wickets in hand and a devastating 65 runs from five batting powerplay overs put the result beyond doubt.

Details in factfile

Irish Independent

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