Ireland Win Ends Scottish Hopes
Ireland 225-9 (Porterfield 62) beat
Scotland 223-9 (Mommsen 91no) by 1 wicket
ICC World Cricket League Championship, Belfast
Scotland's chances of automatic qualification for the 2015 World Cup fell by the wayside as Ireland clinched a one-wicket victory in their first One-Day International in Belfast.
The visitors needed to win both of their final matches in the World Cricket League Championship competition and despite having Ireland at 209 for nine in pursuit of 224 to win they were unable to close out victory.
Ireland got over the line with a ball remaining as Tim Murtagh (23 not out) and George Dockrell (4 not out) put on 15 runs for the final wicket.
Ireland have already qualified for the World Cup but produced no let-up and bounced back impressively from their six-wicket defeat at the hands of England earlier in the week.
Scotland's score of 223 for nine was propped up by stand-in captain Preston Mommsen's unbeaten 91 and although Ireland, thanks to William Porterfield's 62, were travelling well early, three wickets from Majid Haq threatened to turn the game on its head, only for Ireland to recover and extend their lead at the top of the table.
Scotland's demise leaves Afghanistan (15 points with two games to play), the Netherlands (18 points with no games remaining) and the United Arab Emirates (14 points with two games left) as the only three teams that can join Ireland in qualifying automatically.
However, it is not all doom and gloom for the Scots, as they will get a second chance during the World Cup qualifying event next year.
Having won the toss and chosen to set a target, they started poorly, slipping to 56 for three as Murtagh (1-47) and Max Sorensen (2-37) struck early blows.
Mommsen then held things together with 91 in 122 balls inclusive of 10 fours and with support from Calum MacLeod (21) and Safyaan Sharif (26) steered Scotland towards a competitive score, but not before Dockrell had taken four for 24.
That prevented Mommsen from forging any substantial partnerships in the middle of the innings - a key factor in Scotland's inability to put the game beyond their hosts.
Scotland then missed opportunities in the field and were made to pay for them as Porterfield stroked 62 in 64 balls and opening partner Paul Stirling 30 in 46 in an opening stand of 95 in 17 overs.
Both fell within three runs of each other and as Ed Joyce (11), Niall O'Brien (10), Gary Wilson (2) and Kevin O'Brien (3) also fell cheaply, Ireland had slipped from 95 without loss to 131 for six.
It needed 24 from the experienced Trent Johnston to start the rebuilding process and he was aided by 12 from the bat of debutant Eddie Richardson and then 31 from Sorensen.
Richardson fell to Sharif in the 36th over, Johnston was caught by Mommsen of Iain Wardlaw in the 42nd over and when Sorensen was stumped off Matt Machan with nine balls remaining, Scotland were in with every chance.
Murtagh ended unbeaten on 23 in 22 balls with two fours and a six as the Middlesex man held his nerve to ensure that Ireland, who have now lost just once in 13 World Cricket League games, maintained their winning habit.
The two sides meet again on Sunday for their final game of the competition.
World Cricket League Championship: Ireland 22 points (qualified), Netherlands 18, Afghanistan, Scotland 15, United Arab Emirates 14, Kenya 10, Namibia, Canada
© Cricket World 2013