Kathryn Bryce hit an unbeaten 46 as Scotland beat Ireland by five wickets in their crucial T20 World Cup qualifier in La Manga.

Batting first on a dreadful pitch and square that resembled the surface of the planet Mars, Ireland's batters struggled against the Scottish attack that read the conditions perfectly.

Katherine Fraser (3-14), Kathleen McGill (2-18) and Abtaha Maqsood (1-14) bowled tight and disciplined lines, as the Irish struggled to gain any momentum.

A final total of 89 for 9 looked under par, but Scotland found the going equally tough, as wickets for Ava Canning (2-5 from 4 overs), supported by tight bowling by Orla Prendergast (0-6 from 2 overs), saw Scotland in early trouble.

Eimear Richardson (2-24), playing her 50th match for Ireland, then took two wickets in her first over, leaving Scotland at 23-4 at the half way stage of the innings.

The game's complexion however changed completely in the second half of the innings as a more aggressive approach from Scottish skipper Bryce (46*) and Becky Glen (22 off 19 balls) put the pressure back on the Irish bowlers, who were in truth found wanting, gifting too many extras and being wayward.

Scotland duly completed a five-wicket victory with an over to spare.

There appears to be however a back-door reprieve for Ireland Women with a place in the next qualifying stage open to the highest ranked team who fails to progress through the qualifiers.