Matthew Cross is thorn in Ireland side as Scotland win series

Matthew Cross
Matthew Cross

Matthew Cross proved a thorn in the Irish side at Bready on Saturday as Scotland took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the T20 International series.

Continuing in the same vein as Thursday night’s opening encounter, 22-year-old wicket-keeper batsman Cross timed the ball superbly as he top scored with 48 from just 30 balls. He struck six fours and a six.

Chasing 167 for the win, Scotland lost George Munsey to the second ball of the reply, bowled by a Tyrone Kane (1-30) inswinger. His early departure only allowed Cross to take full advantage of the power-play fielding restrictions.

Cross and Kyle Coetzer (34) added 73 in just 46 balls as Scotland’s aggressive approach unsettled the Irish attack.

George Dockrell applied the brakes with a superb spell of 3 for 21, dismissing Coetzer, Cross and Michael Leask in quick succession to leave the game finely balanced at 100 for 4 in the 12th over.

Scotland skipper Preston Mommsen took his side to victory without further alarm as he added an unbroken 67 in 42 balls with Richie Berrington (20*).

Mommsen struck five fours and a maximum in a well controlled 47 not out from just 29 deliveries as the win was secured with 11 balls remaining.

The Irish innings saw six of the top order reach double figures, but none was able to kick on and play the destructive innings required.

Kevin O’Brien and Andrew Poynter were joint top scorers with 36, while Andrew Balbirnie (31), and Tyrone Kane (26*) also chipped in.

Ireland kept losing wickets at crucial times, which meant they were never able to achieve the necessary momentum.

Saffyan Sharif (2-26) was the pick of the Scottish attack.

Ireland had hoped to gain a consolation victory over the Scots yesterday in the third game of the series.

However, no play was possible and for the second time in four days, not a single ball was bowled. It was a disappointing outcome, especially as Strabane and Waringstown were able to complete a full match in the Ulster Cup just a few miles away.

Not surprisingly Cross was named man of the series after his match-winning exploits.

The series leaves Ireland with plenty to ponder ahead of the World Twenty20 qualifiers. They missed their big guns much more than Scotland did and new coach John Bracewell will be relieved to see the likes of captain William Porterfield and Paul Stirling back in the squad.

Ireland now have just two more matches before the qualifiers get under way. They face the UAE and Oman on July 6 and 7.