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Match Report
Derek Scott

In three successive years three matches have been won against Scotland. Is the wheel turning? The wins were in the 2004 European Championships, in 2005 in the Intercontinental Cup and now this one in 2006. It also has to be said that in 2004 Ireland lost an Intercontinental Cup match to Scotland at Clontarf C.C. and in 2005 lost the ICC Trophy Final to Scotland also at Castle Avenue. Both teams had now got full ODI status so this match came under official ODI regulations which included Power Plays (20 overs of the 50 must be on restricted field placings). 10 of these have to be the first 10 overs, with two close catchers. The remaining 10 are in two chunks of 5 and are at the fielding captain's discretion as to when they occur. During the latter two there is no obligation to have two close catchers.

All 15 members of the party were now available to play for Ireland. Left out of the 15 for this match were K O'Brien, P Mooney, Carroll and Rankin. Scotland had a lot of familiar names but making a debut was Naudeep Poonia, a batsman Scottish born and now playing for Warwickshire. The pitch was greenish, not ultra hard and slightly moist after some rain early in the week. However it played better than it looked. Scotland decided to field having won the toss. Porterfield and Bray began to the bowling of Hoffman and Brown, another Warwickshire player. Both openers were out by the seventh over with only 19 runs on the board. Bray hit a four off Brown while Porterfield took a four off each bowler. Having square cut a four in Brown's first over, Bray was lbw to the last ball. 7-1-4.

Morgan came in and Porterfield was out in over seven. His leg glance was too fine and he was caught at the wicket. 19-2-11. N O'Brien started in good form and hit Brown for fours over his head and a square cut two balls later. Scotland called a Power Play for over 11 and the next five overs cost 21 runs. Blain was the principal sufferer being hit for four fours in his first three overs. Wright, medium pace, had also come on and he bowled his 10 over stint without a break. He it was who took the next three wickets. 50 was up in over 14. Scotland called the last required Power Play starting with over 16. The Irish left-handed pair continued to keep pace with one another through various changes of bowlers. In 10 overs they had added 50 and the stand went on to reach 80 in 110 balls before O'Brien was out in over 25. He took a step down the pitch to Wright and skied it to deep extra cover. There was no need for such a risk at this juncture. 99-3-32. Botha was the fifth left-hander in a row for Ireland. A wicket maiden was played out and the halfway score remained at 99. The fourth wicket pair put on 19 runs in four overs. Then two wickets fell in the 29th over, bowled by Wright. Botha seemed to fall away from the ball and was stumped. 118-4-11. Two balls later Gillespie nibbled at Wright and was caught at the wicket. 118-5-0.

Ireland were in need of a recovery process when Johnston, with his broken finger strapped up, came in to join Morgan. Lyons, slow left-arm, came on for over 30 after which the score was 121-5. So could 240 be reached with only five wickets in hand. As was proved, the answer was "yes" due to Morgan and McCallan. Morgan reached 50 in over 31 from 83 balls. After over 33 Wright was bowled out, 3-32, and was replaced by Blain. Johnston put on 22 runs with Morgan in five overs. Then he took a step down the wicket to Lyons, was never at the pitch, and was caught at long-off. 140-6-6. White was next and, in six overs, put on 24 with Morgan, each hitting a four. 150 was up in over 27. There was another silly dismissal in over 40, bowled by Lyons. White tried a reverse sweep, missed, and was lbw. 164-7-12.

When McCallan arrived 10 overs remained. Ireland were in a poor position and Morgan had reached 73. This pair did not let Ireland down. 73 runs were scored from 55 balls. Lyons bowled out his 10 overs while Watson, off-spin, and Hoffman shared the other end. By over 44, 20 had been added. Hoffman bowled over 45. Morgan hit a six to long-on and McCallan had a reverse sweep four to fine leg. Over 46 saw 200 up. McCallan launched an attack on Lyons's last over, the 48th. 15 came from the over, 14 of them to McCallan. A 6 to long-on was nearly a catch then came a reverse shot sweep for four. Over 49 brought 12 runs and two more fours to McCallan, one to long-off, the second to third man. McCallan had got 50% more of the strike in the stand as the last over began with Morgan facing, on 99. Blain bowled this over and his first ball was pushed a short distance on the on side, with a fielder swooping in. There was no run but McCallan called one. Morgan took a few steps and was sent back. He slid as he turned and was run out. He joins the 99 club which has five members, Anderson, Short, Warke, Dunlop and, now, Morgan. His 99 came from 134 balls with a six and seven fours and he was in for 47 overs. A string of foul language on entry to the pavilion led to his being reprimanded by the match referee. J. Mooney and McCallan got three runs from the rest of the final over, so the hoped for 240 was achieved. McCallan's 46 from only 35 balls saved the innings. His stand with Morgan put on 73 and, not for the first time, McCallan rescued an Irish Innings. Scotland bowled and fielded well. Six bowlers were used. The best was Wright, 10-2-32-3 and Lyons bowled 10 overs in taking 2-50. Blain and Watson were expensive.

The Scottish reply at no stage challenged the Irish total. From the seventh over on wickets fell at regular intervals and the innings only lasted into the 42nd over. There were five stands of between 20 and 29 but the Irish win was by 85 runs. The newcomer Poonia and MacRae opened to Johnston and Langford-Smith. All went well for Scotland for five overs during which Poonia swept a four off Johnston. In the next over, bowled by Langford-Smith, MacRae cover drove a four and, next ball, gave Johnston a low catch at second slip. 20-1-8. Watson joined Poonia who hit three fours in the next two overs. J Mooney came on for Johnston and Watson pulled the first two balls for fours. Langford-Smith struck again in over 10 when he yorked Poonia. 49-2-26. Ireland called a Power Play at over 11 and Watson did not long survive his second wicket partner. This was a repeat of MacRae's dismissal. The bowler was Langford-Smith, the fielder was Johnston and the catch was at second slip. 52-3-10. Brown joined left-hander Hussein and hit his first ball for four to mid-wicket. A better throw from extra-cover in over 13 might have run out Hussein. There followed, next ball, a snicked four by Brown and then Langford-Smith's seventh over was a maiden. He went off after eight overs, with figures of 3-29, and was replaced by Botha.

The final Power Play was called beginning with over 16 and it was Mooney, in over 19, who took the next wicket. Brown waved at the first ball of this over and was caught at the wicket. 72-4-11. McCallum was next. Mooney was replaced by McCallan but Botha took the fifth wicket in his fourth over, the 24th. McCallum pushed across the line and was lbw. 84-5-7. Two more wickets fell quickly. Hussein was out in McCallan's second over. He stepped back to cut the ball, it kept low and bowled him. 88-6-14. Two overs later Smith went down the pitch to McCallan, missed, and was stumped. 91-7-2. It was now a matter of how long and how many for Scotland? In fact, it was a surprising 67 more runs which occupied 15 overs. Wright and Blain were the first pair in this recovery. Their stand was 28 runs in just over nine overs. McCallan bowled through this stand at one end with Langford-Smith and White at the other end. Both batsmen hit fours; Wright's being a high straight one off White. 100 was up in over 31. The stand ended with the first ball of the 37th over, McCallan's eighth. Blain hit a ball to Mooney at deep mid-wicket. As Mooney threw to the wicket-keeper the batsmen were undecided about a second run. Wright refused the second run, sent Blain back, but Blain failed to beat the relay from N O'Brien to bowler McCallan. 119-8-16.

Hoffman, a well-known big hitter, joined Wright. The stand put on 23 in 20 balls of which Hoffman made 18. His first runs came from his third ball, a six off McCallan to mid-wicket. In McCallan's next over, the 39th, he had a four to square leg and, next ball, a straight six. In the next over Wright flicked White to Bray at mid-wicket. 142-9-18. Then Lyons played out a wicket maiden over, the fifth maiden of the innings. Hoffman took a single off the first ball of McCallan's last over and Lyons blocked the remaining five. The 42nd over, bowled by White, was the last. Hoffman hit the first ball for six to wide long-on, the second square for another six and the third high to mid-wicket where Bray made the catch. Hoffman's 31 at number 10 was the top score and he hit four sixes and a four in only 14 balls faced. The Irish out cricket was good. Six bowlers were used. Langford-Smith, 3-32, and McCallan, 2-37, were the only bowlers who completed their 10 overs. White had 2-31 in 5.3 overs while Botha in his five overs had 1-9. Morgan was awarded the medal for the Man-of-the-Match, adjudicated by the umpires