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Clinical Ireland trounce Scotland by six wickets

Boyd Rankin picked three wickets for Ireland
Boyd Rankin picked three wickets for Ireland

Ireland 223-4 (Balbirnie 67) beat
Scotland 219 (Jones 87) by six wickets
Third game, Tr-Series, Dubai

Ireland have strengthened their chances of winning the tri-series in Dubai following a comfortable six-wicket victory over Scotland in the third game of the tournament on Tuesday.

The result also means Ireland now have six points from three games and are at the top of the table while Scotland and the United Arab Emirates are yet to open their account after playing one and two games respectively.

Chasing 220 to win, Ireland suffered early setback when Safyaan Sharif (2-44) castled William Porterfield (0) off the second delivery but Andy Balbirnie (67) struck eight boundaries and a six in the powerplay phase while Paul Stirling (38) also looked good as Ireland went on to post 69 for one in the first 10 overs.

Balbirline reached his fifty off just 42 deliveries and Ireland's 100 came in the 16th over. Tom Sole (2-44) on his debut provided some respite for Scotland when he had Balbirnie stumped and few overs later he also had Stirling dismissed. Ireland were 128 for three at that stage.

Any chance of a Scotland comeback was put off by another 73 run stand for the fourth wicket between Niall O'Brien (55) and Ed Joyce (31) that came off just 65 deliveries.

The duo kept the boundaries coming at regular intervals, literally denting Scotland's hopes. Niall brought his fifty with a six off 51 deliveries but fell in the next delivery to Sharif. However, Joyce along with Kevin O'Brien saw Ireland through the chase in just 34.5 overs with six wickets in hand.

Earlier, it was Ireland, who won the toss and decided to bowl first. The decision was justified when Barry McCarthy (2-42) had George Munsey (0) dismissed in the third over while Matthew Cross (18) and Richie Berrington (5) also fell cheaply.

Michael Jones (87) on his debut outing playing a sensible knock and had brief supports from Calum MacLeod (33) and Craig Wallace (34) but the rest of the Scotland batting capitulated as they were bowled out for 219 in the final over.

Boyd Rankin (3-49) was the pick of the Ireland bowlers with a three-wicket haul while McCarry had two. Balbirnie won the player of the match award for his fluent half-century in the chase.

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