Ireland retain their title after beating Scotland

ICC Europe/CricketEurope

Ireland have retained the European A Championship after a convincing win today over Scotland at the VRA ground in Amstelveen.

Ireland won the toss and chose to bat first. They got their innings off to a fantastic start with some big hitting from Reindhardt Strydom. He put on 64 for the first wicket with Andrew Balbirnie, of which Balbirnie contributed just four before he was out.

Strydom reached his fifty in just 29 balls, and he was joined in the big hitting by number three batsman Paul Stirling, who hit a huge straight six early on that cleared the sightscreen and landed on the path running past the ground.

Strydom was eventually out from 64 balls, and Stirling followed 38 runs later having scored 35. This had the score on 125/3, at which point Scotland began to tighten things up in the field. Zeeshan Bashir bowled particularly well, taking 4/26 from his ten overs help restrict Ireland to 185/9 from their 50 overs.

Scotland's reply was an effort that saw wickets fall regularly, with the Irish bowlers never letting them get a hand on the game.

Matthew Parker top scored for Scotland with 30,and Omer Hussain scored 29, but aside from those two, nobody in the Scottish line-up got a start. Gary Kidd wasn't as effective as his phenomonal performance yesterday, going for an expensive 43 from his ten overs, but Andrew Balbirne bowled brilliantly, more than making up for his failure with the bat by taking 4/21 from his seven overs after starting with a double wicket maiden.

The final two wickets were taken by Andrew Britton, sparking well deserved celebrations in the Irish camp as they finished unbeaten to retain their title. Scotland finished third in the tournament after the Netherlands beat Denmark by 42 runs at VOC Rotterdam to secure the runners-up spot.