Sunday 18 August 2019

Kevin O'Brien rescues Ireland on day one against Scotland

An unbeaten half-century from Kevin O'Brien salvaged a competitive first-innings total for Ireland against Scotland in Dubai.

Ireland, who are hoping to displace Afghanistan at the top of the ICC Intercontinental Cup, were reduced to 124 for six before O'Brien hit 78 not out to help them to 251.

Stuart Whittingham, Mark Watt and Chris Sole took three wickets each for Scotland, who finished the opening day 37 without loss.

In the final round of the tournament, Ireland, who need to win to stand any chance of surpassing leaders Afghanistan, were put in to bat by the Saltires.

Paul Stirling started on the front foot with two early boundaries through the covers, but attempted one drive too many and was caught behind off Sole in just the second over.

Captain William Porterfield reached 28 before he was superbly caught by George Munsey at gully to spark a mini-collapse.

Andrew Balbirnie and John Anderson fell shortly after and Gary Wilson holed out for 21 to give Watt three big wickets and leave Ireland struggling on 117 for five.

Simi Singh tickled one down the leg-side off Whittingham, who impressed with three for 23, before O'Brien and George Dockrell patiently rebuilt the innings.

Once Dockrell was out and Boyd Rankin soon followed him back, O'Brien was left to shepherd the tail and he demonstrated his renowned hitting ability with three sixes in a 97-ball knock, sharing partnerships of 47 and 38 for the ninth and 10th wicket stands respectively.

Scotland openers Munsey and Kyle Coetzer made it through unscathed until the close of play.

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