Ireland reignited their World Cup qualification hopes when they defeated Scotland by 25 runs at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
However, Ireland’s chances of qualifying for next year’s global showpiece in England are slim as they still find themselves behind Zimbabwe, the West Indies and Sunday’s opponents on the Super Sixes table.
Andy Balbirnie scored a century for the men in green, who posted a commanding total of 271-9 from their 50 overs.
Balbirnie shared a stand of 138 runs for the third wicket with Niall O’Brien (70) as Ireland recovered from 45-2. After O’Brien was dismissed, Balbirnie had another significant partnership – 58 runs – with Kevin O’Brien as they added more runs to the Irish total.
Balbirnie was eventually out for 105 when he was trapped lbw by Mark Watt, but by that time, Ireland had amassed 241 runs. Kevin O’Brien followed him back into the stands when he was caught by Craig Wallace off the bowling of Chris Sole.
Scotland’s run chase started well despite losing opener Matthew Cross early on.
Kyle Coetzer and Calum MacLeod scored 68 runs for the second wicket before the latter was caught by Balbirnie off the bowling of Simi Singh. Coetzer followed soon after, which brought about a collapse of the Ireland middle order.
George Munsey (one), Wallace (six) and Michael Leask (two) didn’t last long, but Pretoria-born Richie Berrington (44) and Safyaab Sharif (34) were able to put up a bit of a stand as they put on 51 for the seventh wicket.
Despite a brief fightback towards the end that saw Scotland back in the game, Ireland were able to hold on for the victory.
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