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Win over Scots seals series victory

Ireland Men's win over Scotland wraps up T20I Tri-Series victory
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The Hague, Netherlands – Ireland Men produced a superb batting display to earn victory over Scotland in the Netherlands on Thursday.

Set a target of 158 to win, half-centuries from Andrew Balbirnie (56) and the in-form Lorcan Tucker (55) saw their side to a five-wicket win with just three balls remaining.

Having beaten Netherlands in their tri-series opener and seen a first outing against Scotland washed out earlier in the week, Ireland made it two wins from two. Success over the Scots not only sees Ireland win the series, but it aids both their 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup preparations and their hopes of qualifying for the 2026 edition. The top-12 teams in ICC’s official world rankings by the end of the upcoming World Cup will likely qualify for 2026 and Ireland, currently 11th, have now opened up further daylight between them and both Scotland in 13th and Netherlands in 15th.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Scotland posted 157-8 from their 20 overs first up. George Munsey (12), Michael Jones (23) and captain Richie Berrington (13) all made starts for Scotland up front, but Ireland managed to peg them before they got going. Craig Young and Mark Adair were the men to make inroads with the new ball, leaving Scotland 22-2.

Spinners Ben White (1-22) and Gareth Delany (1-18) then further reduced the Scots to 65-4 as Ireland exerted early pressure.

A 55-run partnership between Matthew Cross (35) and Michael Leask (34) frustrated the Irish before Adair bowled the latter for 34 at the end of the 16th over. Young collected a second wicket by trapping Cross leg-before two overs later, Ireland again halting their opponents just as they were getting going.

Adair and Young were the pick of the Ireland bowlers and finished with respective figures of 3-36 and 3-31, courtesy of some excellent death bowling.

Ireland’s batters wasted no time in eating away at their target, with opening pair Balbirnie and skipper Paul Stirling racing to 51-0 at the end of the six over powerplay.

Stirling eventually departed for 31 from 21 balls with the score 66-1, but the loss of his partner did nothing to slow Balbirnie’s scoring as he reached a 12th T20I half-century from just 38 deliveries.

At the other end, Tucker’s outstanding run of scores continued as Ireland’s vice-captain made a ninth 50 in T20I cricket and his third in five matches. His knock of 55 came from 38 deliveries and included five fours at a strike-rate of 144.73.

Scotland’s Chris Sole (3-28) did cause late alarm with two wickets in two balls, but Ireland’s batters made sure of victory.

Ireland plays their final match of the series against hosts Netherlands on Friday.

MATCH SUMMARY

Ireland v Netherlands, 3rd T20I, Voorburg CC, The Hague, Netherlands — 23 May 2024

Scotland 157-8 (20 overs; M Cross 35, M Leask 34; C Young 3-31, M Adair 3-36)
Ireland 158-5 (19.3 overs; A Balbirnie 56, L Tucker 55, P Stirling 31; C Sole 3-28)

Ireland won by 5 wickets

See full scorecard

key points
  • Five-wicket win by Ireland wraps up series
  • Tucker’s last four T20I innings: 51, 73, 40, 55
  • Last game tomorrow against Netherlands

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