Cricket: Ireland destroy Scotland to claim ICC trophy
WILLIAM PORTERFIELD lifted the ICC World Cricket League trophy after Ireland ended a successful campaign with a crushing seven-wicket victory over Scotland at Stormont.
Ireland were already confirmed as champions before their final match but eased to an 11th win from 14 with only a shock defeat in Kenya, a washout against Afghanistan and a tie in the Netherlands spoiling their card.
After losing to the last-over heroics of Tim Murtagh on Friday – a defeat that ended their hopes of automatic qualification for the 2015 World Cup – Scotland chose to bat and struggled to a disappointing 165 all out from 49.3 overs.
Porterfield and fellow opener Paul Stirling went cheaply in reply, but Niall O'Brien was in imperious form, striking 65 not out from 70 balls to see his side home with a massive 17 overs to spare.
"We were quite surprised the way Scotland went about their innings," Niall O'Brien said. "Perhaps losing a game they thought they'd won on Friday took a lot out of them, but they never really made a fist of it.
"We thought maybe 220 was a par score on that pitch and after bowling them out for 165 we were well on top. It's good for Irish cricket to have won this qualifying tournament convincingly and now we're all looking forward to playing in the 2015 World Cup – that's going to be a fantastic experience."
Back-to-back victories over Scotland will have gone some way to compensate for the disappointing loss to England last week and Ireland will be looking to end their season in style against the same opponents in a four-day InterContinental Cup match that starts on Wednesday.