ODI World Cup Qualifiers: Leask leads Scotland to thrilling one-wicket win over Ireland


Bulawayo, June 21 (IANS) All-rounder Michael Leask hit a four on the final ball of Scotland’s chase to secure a thrilling one-wicket win for Scotland over Ireland in their Mens ODI World Cup Qualifier Group B match at Queens Sports Club, here on Wednesday.

All-rounder Curtis Campher’s superb 120 and George Dockrell’s fine 69 helped Ireland to a total of 286/8, after being reduced to 70/5, thanks to Brandon McMullen’s 5/34.

In reply, Scotland were in trouble at 152/7. But Leask had other ideas, slamming a glorious unbeaten 91 off 61 balls, laced with nine fours and four sixes, to gain a thrilling win for Scotland.

Leask also shared a vital 82-run stand for the eighth wicket with Mark Watt (47), before stitching a 50-run stand with Safyaan Sharif (6). With this, Scotland have now won 13 of their last 14 ODIs batting second.

Scotland’s chase had a less than ideal start as Matthew Cross fell to Mark Adair in the second over. Christopher McBride took the charge with the bat in the following overs, ensuring that his side maintained a healthy scoring rate while making 56 off 60 balls.

Adair struck again in the 11th over, when he got Brandon McMullen caught at cover.  Nine overs later, McBride was trapped lbw by Campher in the 20th over. One brought two, as Ben White accounted for George Munsey (15) in the very next over, putting Ireland on top.

Josh Little was exceptional in his second spell, getting rid of Scotland captain Richie Berrington and Tomas Mackintosh in the 26th and 28th over respectively, followed by Chris Greaves falling to Dockrell in the 34th over.

But it was the eighth-wicket stand between Leask and Watt which gave Ireland a huge headache. They staged a resistance, and added quick runs to give Scotland a chance of coming back in the match.

The fiery partnership of 82 runs off 67 balls was finally broken in the 46th over, when Dockrell had Watt (47) stumped. But Leask didn’t give up, hitting two sixes and two fours off Little as Scotland took 22 runs in the 47th over.

They took 14 off the next two overs to get closer to a famous win. Leask hit the first ball of the final over for a four, but Ireland clawed their way back in by picking a wicket and giving merely two runs off the next four balls.

Leask came back on strike when two runs were needed off the final delivery and his inside edge beat the keeper to go for four as Scotland managed to get an improbable win.

Earlier, Ireland had a terrible start to their innings when they lost opener Paul Stirling and skipper Andrew Balbirnie off back-to-back deliveries in the very first over, to seamer McMullen. The collapse continued when McMullen sent Harry Tector back to the pavilion in the fifth over, followed by Lorcan edging to first slip off Watt.

Campher and Andy McBrine were forced to take the conservative route in order to rebuild. But the slow run rate increased the pressure on the batting side, and McBrine (35) fell in the 19th over while going for a pull against McBride.

Dockrell, who had hit an unbeaten 91 against Oman in Ireland’s first group game, and Campher, he brought stability to the Irish innings before upping the scoring rate with some good strokeplay.  

Together the duo added 136 off 25 overs, before Dockrell fell to McMullen in the 44th over. Campher kept going for runs and with good assistance from Gareth Delany (19 off 14 balls), helped Ireland finish strongly and brought up his maiden ODI hundred in the process, which wasn’t enough for Ireland to avoid their second defeat on the trot.

Brief Scores: Ireland 286/8 in 50 overs (Curtis Campher 120, George Dockrell 69; Brandon McMullen 5/34) lost to Scotland 289/9 in 50 overs (Michael Leask 91 not out, Christopher McBride 56; Mark Adair 3/57, George Dockrell 2/34) by one wicket



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