Matthew Humphreys stars with bat and ball as Ireland U19s book finals place with win over Scotland
Lisburn all-rounder Matthew Humphreys starred for Ireland Under-19s with both bat and ball to lift Ireland to victory over Scotland, securing a finals place at the ICC Men’s Under-19s World Cup Europe Qualifier today.
Ireland U19s v Scotland U19s, ICC U19 World Cup Qualifier Group Game 1, Desert Springs Cricket Ground, 23 September 2021
Ireland U19s 139 (44.4 overs; M Humphreys 32, S Macbeth 31; O Davidson 5-23)
Scotland U19s 44 (23.2 overs: T Mackintosh 24; M Humphreys 4-11, N McGuire 3-7, C Doak 1-2)
Ireland U19s won by 95 runs
After winning the toss, captain Tim Tector decided to bat first – however, big-hitting opener Nathan McGuire was dismissed early for 6, and combined with some accurate early Scottish bowling, Ireland was restricted to 28-1 after the first power-play.
Yesterday’s century-making hero Jack Dickson was bowled soon after for 15, with his dismissal triggering a middle-order collapse. The Irish batting line-up lost 4-21 in 11 overs to be precariously positioned at 58-5 in the 25th over – staring at a big defeat and missing out on the Final of the tournament.
Scott Macbeth and Liam Doherty stabilised the innings with a 6th wicket stand of 44 runs, however both fell within eight runs of each other and Ireland was once again looking at a well below par total, sitting on 100-7 with 14 overs still available.
The Irish team management was looking desperately for one of the lower-order to contribute in the latter overs, and up stepped Humphreys. The Lisburn-man struck two sixes and two fours in a run-a-ball innings of 32. He found some support from Jamie Forbes (2) who held up an end while Humphreys began to find the boundary, and the pair’s 28-run partnership for the 8th wicket gave their side the first glimpse of hope in setting a low, but possibly defendable target.
Scottish left-arm spinner Oliver Davidson eventually cleaned up the tail, claiming a five-wicket haul in the process, and Ireland ended on 139 from 44.4 overs – Humphreys being the last man to fall.
If they had any chance of defeating the table-topping Scots, the Irish bowlers needed a positive start, and it was that man Humphreys that struck in the first over – his wicket maiden opening over would then set the tone for the rest of the innings.
Captain Tector effected a run out in the 6th over to have Scotland at 7-2, but Tomas Mackintosh looked to counter-attack. He reeled off five boundaries in a quickfire 24, but man-of-the-moment Humphreys trapped him in front with Scotland looking adrift at 25-3.
Ireland sensed their chance and made it count. The Irish bowlers, backed up by good fielding, never let up the pressure and wickets tumbled as a result. In all, Scotland lost their last seven wickets for just 12 runs in 10 overs as the side in green pressed home their advantage in ruthless style.
Player of the Match Humphreys finished with 4-11 from 10 overs (including four maidens) and McGuire claimed 3-7 from his 4.2 overs – his final delivery which bowled Sean Fischer-Keogh sparked wild celebrations as the Irish camp knew they had booked a place in Saturday’s final, which determines the side that goes through to the Under-19s World Cup in 2022.
Scotland – currently in second place – can only watch on tomorrow as Netherlands meets Jersey in the last match of the round-robin part of this tournament. A big win tomorrow by the Dutch may see them leap over the Scots on net run rate. Meanwhile the Irish squad has a rest day, and can begin preparing for the big decider in two days.