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Ireland keep World Cup hope alive with 25-run win over Scotland

Andrew Balbirnie celebrating his century against Scotland
Andrew Balbirnie celebrating his century against Scotland
©ICC
 

Ireland 271-9 (Balbirnie 105) beat
Scotland 246 (Coetzer 61) by 25 runs
4th game, Super Sixes, ICC World Cup Qualifiers, Harare
Scorecard

Andrew Balbirnie scored a valiant century while Boyd Rankin marked his presence with a four-wicket haul as Ireland defended 272 runs against Scotland in the fourth game of the Super Sixes in Harare to keep their chances of World Cup qualification alive.

Chasing 272 for a win, Scotland got off to a cautious start of 17 runs in the first five overs. Just when the openers going with a boundary each in the sixth over, Tim Murtagh (2-51) dismissed Matthew Cross (18).

Kyle Coetzer (61) signalled his intention hitting Rankin (5-63) for six boundaries in a span of two overs as Scotland reached 50 for one in the powerplay phase. Things went from bad to worse for Rankin as he dropped Coetzer in the 13th over.

The Scotland captain completed his fifty off 49 deliveries but the 68-run stand for the second wicket ended Simi Singh (2-33) had Calum MacLeod (21) caught at deep midwicket and that provided the opening for Ireland.

Rankin made a tremendous comeback with the wickets of Coetzer, George Munsey (1) and Craig Wallace (6) and from there on the Scotland innings lost momentum with only Richie Berrington (44) showing some resilience.

They looked down and out at 183 for seven but Safyaan Sharif (34) and Mark Watt (31 not out) gave some hope for Scotland. However, Ireland did held their nerve and managed to dismiss them for 246, thereby completing a 25 run victory.

Earlier, a 138-run stand for the third wicket between Balbirnie (105) and Niall O Brien (70) was the cornerstone of the Ireland innings while Kevin O'Brien (46) with his 27-ball cameo helped them post 271 for nine despite impressive figures from Bradley Wheal (3-43).

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