CRICKET: Emphatic win over Scotland sends Ireland into Desert T20 final against Afghanistan

Ireland's Paul Stirling
Ireland's Paul Stirling

Half centuries from Gary Wilson and Paul Stirling, followed up by a combined seven-wicket haul from spinners Jacob Mulder and George Dockrell propelled Ireland to an emphatic 98-run win against Celtic rivals Scotland in the Desert T20 in Dubai.

The Irish will now face Aghanistan later on Friday in the final.

Ireland's Gary Wilson

Ireland's Gary Wilson

A superb all-round performance saw the Irish post a daunting total of 211 for 6, their third highest total in the format - only bettered by their 225 against Afghanistan and 216 versus USA, both in the 2013 T20 World Cup Qualifiers.

Batting first the Irish raced out of the blocks with Paul Stirling and Stuart Poynter sharing an opening stand of 78 in just 40 balls - 71 coming in the powerplay.

Poynter struck seven boundaries and cleared the ropes once in a rapid 39 from just 19 deliveries.

Skipper William Porterfield again fell early, but there was to be no respite for the beleaguered Scottish attack as Paul Stirling’s good form in the competition continued hitting 5 fours and 3 sixes in his 60 from just 36 balls.

Kevin O’Brien hit two maximums in a breezy cameo of 30 from 22 balls, but it was Gary Wilson who played the best innings of the day for the ‘Boys in Green’.

The Belfast man top scored with a quite brilliant unbeaten 65 from just 29 balls (8 fours, 3 sixes) - his highest score for Ireland in T20 cricket - as Ireland amassed their formidable total.

None of the Scotland bowlers escaped the carnage, with Con de Lange (2-37) and Josh Davey (2-47) their most successful on a day to forget.

Scotland made a valiant attempt to chase down the huge total, and Matthew Cross gave them early hope as he hit 3 sixes and 3 fours in a whirlwind 35 from 16 deliveries.

He eventually fell to the impressive Boyd Rankin (1-10), who remained steadfast in the early onslaught.

Scotland weren’t far off the required run rate as they reached 72 for 1 in the 8th over, but scoreboard pressure told as they collapsed.

Skipper Kyle Coetzer made a valiant 40, but Ireland’s spinners turned the screws backed up by secure Irish fielding.

Leg-spinner Jacob Mulder took 4 for 16, with left-arm spinner George Dockrell collecting 3 for 28 as Scotland lost 9 wickets for just 41 runs to be 113 all out in the 16th over.

Kevin O’Brien (2-24) was the other wicket taker in a memorable win for the Irish against their traditional rivals.

Ireland now face tournament top seeds Afghanistan - 8 wicket winners over Oman in the morning semi-final - in the final this afternoon. That game at the Dubai International Stadium begins at 3.30pm UK/Ireland.

Summary:

Desert T20, Dubai International Stadium

Ireland 211/6 (20 overs; G Wilson 65 no, P Stirling 60, S Poynter 39. K O’Brien 30, C de Lange 2-37, J Davey 2-47)

Scotland 113 all out (15.1 overs; K Coetzer 40, M Cross 35, J Mulder 4-16, G Dockrell 3-28, K O’Brien 2-24)

Ireland win by 98 runs and will play Afghanistan in the final (15.30).