Brandon Moyo, [email protected]
IN what turned out to be arguably the best match so far, in the on-going 2023 Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers, Scotland edged Ireland by just one wicket in a last ball thriller played at Queens Sports Club yesterday in Bulawayo.
This was Ireland’s second consecutive defeat in the tournament while Scotland managed to open their account on a high note.
The match got off to an electric start with Ireland losing two wickets in two balls in the first over before clawing back to finish on 286/8 in their 50 overs.
The second innings, just like the first, was interesting with Scotland looking down and out at some point before going to chase down the target with the last ball of the match, to finish on 289/9 in their 50 overs.
Ireland, who were sent in to bat first lost two of their most senior players, Paul Stirling and the captain Andy Balbirnie for golden ducks, leaving the team on 1/2 in the first three balls of the match.
Ireland’s batting struggles continued, as they were struggling on 70/5 in 18,2 overs. It took a brilliant sixth wicket partnership between George Dockrell and Curtis Campher to save Ireland from humiliation with the bat. Campher became the hero for Ireland after scoring his maiden One Day
International (ODI) century, finishing on 120 runs from 108 deliveries. Dockrell chipped in with a half century, falling on 69 runs from 93 balls to help their team set a good target.
Brandon McMullen was the pick of the Scotland bowlers, taking a five wicket haul to finish with figures of 5/34 in seven overs. Chris Sole, Mark Watt and Christopher McBride all took one wicket each for Scotland.
In the game’s second innings, Scotland, just like Ireland struggled early on with the bat, losing their first wicket in the second over with just six runs on the board. At the halfway mark, they were on 117/5 in 25,1 overs before yet another special innings from Michael Leask.
Leask, alongside Watt fought back to hand Scotland a last ball win. Leask top scored with an unbeaten 91 runs from 61 balls, including a huge over which saw him beat Josh Little for 22 runs.
Watt was stumped after scoring 47 runs from 43 deliveries.
In the last over, needing eight runs to win, Leask on strike managed to hit a boundary off the first ball before Mark Adair fought back with the ball, taking a wicket, and a dot ball on the third and fourth delivery. Needing two runs to win from the last ball, it was Leask who had the last laugh, scoring a four to guide his team through.
Adair finished with figures of 3/57 in 10 overs while Little and Dockrell took two scalps each for 73 and 34 runs respectively.
Leask was named Player of the Match.
“What an incredible knock by Michael Leask there, it was fantastic to see him get us over the line and it’s special to get a win like that in the first game,” said Scotland captain, Richie Berrington.
Tomorrow, Scotland will be up against a winless United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC) while at Queens Sports Club, Sri Lanka face the confident Oman, who have won two out of two. — @brandon_malvin