Botha spins Ireland to victory

On a rare rain-free day in Belfast, a tight display with the ball allowed Ireland to strangle Scotland’s batsmen into a 21-run defeat, yet the quadrangular series was claimed by the West Indies after the home side could not gain the bonus point necessary to draw level at the top of the table.

After contributions throughout the batting order led Ireland to a competitive 222-7, built around a spine of Niall O’Brien’s 72, miserly spells from their spinners induced a late Scottish collapse that saw them lose their last six wickets for just 22 runs.

On another slow wicket, Ireland endured early setbacks to leave them 34-2, with both William Porterfield and Eoin Morgan falling early on. However a crucial stand of 46 for the third wicket between Andre Botha, who made 42, and Niall O’Brien allowed Ireland to hold wickets in reserve for some late-innings acceleration. While the industrious O’Brien paced himself carefully, striking seven fours in his 101-ball innings, Trent Johnson lashed a pair of sixes in a cameo of 32 from just 23 balls; both were eventually victims of offspinner Majid Haq, who returned figures of 3-59.

Despite the loss of Fraser Watts for 7, Scotland looked to have controlled the chase well when Neil McCallum holed out in the deep for 54 to leave his team needing 56 from the last 41 balls. However the game pivoted on the dismissal of captain Ryan Watson for 83 to Botha in the following over, as the lower order caved in to the slower bowlers. Botha finished with 3-27 from nine overs, while Kyle McCallan took 1-35 from 10; Scotland finishing well adrift as they slid to 199 all out with three deliveries remaining.

Ireland 222-7 (50 overs)
Andre Botha 42, Niall O’Brien 72, Trent Johnston 32
Majid Haq 3-59

Scotland 199 all out (49.3)
Ryan Watson 83, Neil McCallum 54
Andre Botha 3-27

Ireland won by 23 runs
Man of the Match: Andre Botha

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by George Roberts