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Niall O'Brien Guides Ireland To Victory

Niall O'Brien
Niall O'Brien hit 80 not out to guide Ireland to victory over Scotland
©International Cricket Council

Ireland 220-7 (N O'Brien 80no) beat
Scotland 216-7 (Machan 86) by three wickets
Associates ODI tri-series, Dubai

Niall O'Brien struck an unbeaten half-century to steer Ireland to a three-wicket win over Scotland in game three of the Associates One-Day International tri-series in Dubai.

Matt Machan top scored with 86 as Scotland posted 216 for nine after Craig Young had returned impressive figures of three for 27 in 10 overs.

Ireland made a poor start to their run chase before O'Brien steadied the ship and helped them reach their victory target in 46.3 overs.

He finished unbeaten on 80 in 106 balls and along with support from John Mooney (36) and Andrew Balbirnie (20), made it two wins out of two for the Irish.

Both this victory and the one over Afghanistan that opened their tournament were by the same margin of three wickets.

Ireland won the toss and chose to bowl first and made early inroads with Young removing Kyle Coetzer (2) and Calum MacLeod (0).

Hamish Gardiner was caught by Gary Wilson off John Mooney (2-52) for five as Scotland slipper to 17 for three.

Machan then hit four fours in his patient 120-ball innings which played a large part in giving his bowlers something to work with.

Preston Mommsen (16), Richie Berrington (28), Richard Taylor (17) and Michael Leask (16) offered some support as Scotland inched past the 200-run mark.

Alex Cusack also took two wickets for Ireland.

The start Ireland's run chase then mirrored Scotland's innings as William Porterfield fell for a two-ball duck to Iain Wardlaw and Ed Joyce made five before being trapped in front by Taylor.

Paul Stirling hit a quickfire 28 in 21 balls to briefly lift Ireland out of danger before he was bowled by Wardlaw.

Wilson helped O'Brien take the score on to 80 before he fell for 21 and 20 more runs were added by the O'Brien brothers until their stand was ended when Kevin was caught by Matthew Cross off Berrington for 13.

Balbirnie, who with Mooney guided Ireland to victory against Afghanistan, then made 20 in 24 balls to put on 43 with O'Brien for the sixth wicket. After he was trapped in front by Majid Haq, Scotland may have sensed a chance, but they were almost defeated by Mooney, whose 36 came from 45 balls, and O'Brien adding 61 for the seventh wicket.

By the time that Mooney was out, caught by Gardiner off Berrington, Ireland were within 12 runs of winning the game, and they were added by O'Brien and Cusack (7 not out).

Wardlaw returned two for 45, Taylor one for 39, Haq one for 42, Berrington two for 47 and Leask one for 40.

Scotland take on Afghanistan in game four on Wednesday 14th January as they look for their first win in the tournament.

© Cricket World 2015