Ireland victorious over Scotland in T20 International after big-hitting display
Three of Ireland’s batsmen hit rapid-fire half-centuries in a 46-run win over Scotland in a T20 International today in the Netherlands – only the third time in T20 International cricket history that three batsmen had passed 50 in the same innings.
Ireland’s T20I Captain Gary Wilson called correctly at the toss for the third consecutive time as captain, and had no hesitation about electing to bat first.
The second T20I between the two sides will be at the same venue tomorrow
• Ireland v Scotland, 17 June 2018 (starts at 4pm, GMT)
Opener Paul Stirling got off to a flyer, hitting 51 runs in 29 balls (10 x fours) and setting the tone for the innings. During his innings, Stirling passed William Porterfield as Ireland’s highest run-scorer in T20I cricket.
With the dismissal of Stirling’s opening partner James Shannon (5 runs off 3 balls; 1 x four), Andrew Balbirnie strode to the wicket with purpose. Not having played in the last two T20Is against Netherlands, he set about establishing his credentials in this form of the game, posting a big-hitting 74 runs from 40 balls (11 x fours, 1 x six).
Balbirnie first shared a 51-run stand with Stirling, then was involved in a 91-run partnership with his skipper Wilson. He brought up the first T20I half-century of his career off 26 balls, and continued to dominate the Scottish attack until on 74 he flashed at a ball outside off-stump and was caught at gully.
With the fall of Balbirnie, Wilson seemed determined to finish off the innings in style, upping his scoring tempo in the final overs, ending on 58 runs off 38 balls (4 x fours, 2 x sixes). He fell on the third-last ball of the innings chasing quick runs. Wilson’s dismissal saw him one-run shy of reaching 1,000 career runs in the T20I format, and when he achieves this he will be only the third Irish batsman to do so.
The Ireland total of 205-5 off their 20 overs was its fourth highest T20I team total ever, and the second time they had taken more than 200 off Scottish bowlers.
In response, Scotland’s opening pair of Kyle Coetzer and George Munsey set about scoring quickly in the early overs, with the knowledge that they needed to maintain more than 10 runs per over throughout to win.
Coetzer, the Scottish captain, hit six boundaries in his innings of 33 runs (22 balls) before falling to the wily bowling of left-arm spinner George Dockrell.
Dockrell at 25-years of age was already Ireland’s highest wicket-taker in T20Is, and showed his class today with a tight bowling display, but most importantly claiming the two important wickets of Coetzer and then Munsey (41 runs off 24 balls; 4 x fours, 2 x sixes). Dockrell finished with 2-15 from his three overs bowled, and to complete his good day in the field today also took a good low-down outfield catch to dismiss Richie Berrington (29 runs off 26 balls; 1 x four, 1 x six).
With the fall of fourth-wicket of Calum MacLeod with Scotland on 100, Scotland’s chase seemed doomed and indeed only 59 more runs were made from the final eight overs of the innings, with Ireland running out victors by 46 runs.