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Match Report
Derek Scott

This was Ireland's first match in a World Cup 20/20 qualifier for the leading six Associates of ICC. The six were in two groups. Ireland were in "A" with Scotland and Bermuda. The "B" group had Netherlands, Kenya and Canada. The provisions of the tournament were that the two finalists would qualify for the 20/20 World Cup proper, which was to be held in England in 2009. However later due to political difficulties with Zimbabwe there were moves within ICC to eject Zimbabwe. After discussion on this at an ICC meeting Zimbabwe agreed to withdraw from the 20/20 World Cup, subject to the agreement of their board. If this agreement was forthcoming then there would be 3 associates at the World Cup with the third place being given to the winner of a match between the two defeated semi-finalists.

The first match of the day caused a shock when Netherlands beat Kenya (seeded first) in Group "B". Ireland's match started at 1 PM and there was one change from the final European Championship match against Scotland two days earlier, which Ireland won. Trent Johnston had made himself available for this competition and replaced Fourie. Morgan had refused to make himself available for the entire tournament so he was no longer in the panel. Subsequently the technical committee allowed Ireland to replace Morgan with Paul Stirling. Scotland left out Sheikh, Watts and Haq and replace them with Coetzer, Maiden and Rogers.

This was the 27th limited overs match against Scotland, played between 1993 and 2008. The tally to date was 19 wins to Scotland and 7 to Ireland out of the previous 26.

Scotland won the toss and batted in overcast conditions. Hamilton and Watson started to the bowling of Connell and O'Brien. Watson hit two fours in the first three overs. In the fourth over, O'Brien bowling, Watson hit 2-2-6-4 and got out off the last ball of the over. He skied to deep third man where Strydom ran in, dived and caught the ball two-handed. It was a wonderful catch. 29-1-24. Coetzer, who plays for Durham, was next and this was his first time to play for Scotland against Ireland. He lost Hamilton to the next ball. He was caught by Botha in the outfield off Connell. 29-2-3. That over became a wicket maiden. Cusack replaced Connell and Smith (number four) took a single off the first ball. A bye brought him back on the strike to the fourth ball. He swung wildly at it and was bowled. 31-3-1.

Berrington joined Coetzer and a 21 run stand followed in four overs. For the ninth over Johnston replaced Connell. From its third ball McCallen at mid-on dropped Coetzer when he was six and the total 45. Coetzer hit the next ball for four which put the 50 up. Botha was on for the tenth over in place of Cusack who had taken 1-8 in two overs. His fourth ball bowled Coetzer. 52-4-11.

McCallum came in. He hit a four in Johnston's second over. In Botha's next over there was a bad run-out miss. A single was taken. Then another one was foolishly attempted and one batsman refused. Both batsmen were at one end (the bowler's). The ball was thrown to Botha who could not pick it up. His fumble allowed the batsmen to escape.

Johnson only bowled two overs (for 15) and he was replaced by McCallen. He, too, only bowled two overs, also for 15 runs. In Botha's fourth and last over (in 20/20 4 overs per bowler is the maximum) Berrington skied to a short leg position, very high, but Niall O'Brien held the catch. 92-5-17. Maiden came in but McCallum was out to the 5th ball of this 16th over. He nibbled and gave Niall O'Brien his second catch in the over. 92-6-27. McCallum's 27 was the highest score. He faced 25 balls and hit three of the eight fours in the innings.

Cusack returned for McCallen for over 17. His second ball had Maiden LBW. 94-7-0. Blain joined Drummond and took a single. Two balls later Drummond did the same. The last ball of the over gave Cusack the second LBW in the over, a delayed decision against Blain. 98-8-1. Rogers was number 10. Botha went off with figures of 4-0-18-3 and was replaced by Kevin O'Brien. Wilson dropped a difficult chance in the covers in this over. The resultant two runs brought the 100 up. Cusack bowled the 19th over. Drummond skied the fifth ball to extra cover which Porterfield caught. 108-9-11. Nel was number 11 and there were seven deliveries left. Kevin O'Brien was to bowl the last over. Seven runs came in the over and Cusack running in from mid-wicket dropped Nel on a difficult chance. Off the last ball of the innings McCallen caught Nel low at short mid-wicket. Scotland were all out for 117 and Ireland had 118 to get.

Ireland had used six bowlers. The least expensive one was Connell who conceded 12 runs. O'Brien was the most expensive, conceding 29 runs. The successful bowlers were Cusack, 4-21 and Botha 3-18. The fielding was very good if three dropped catches are ignored!

There was a 25 minute break between the two innings. Porterfield and Wilson opened for Ireland. Blain and Nel bowled for Scotland. Porterfield pulled Blain for four in the first over. Wilson hit Blain for a six over long-leg in Blain's second over. Porterfield tried to leg-glance the first ball of Nel's second over and was bowled leg stump. 15-1-7. Niall O'Brien came in and off-drove his fifth ball for four. In Blain's third over Wilson hit a four to long-on. Drummond, medium pace, was on for over seven and Rogers, slow left arm, for over eight. Wilson came down the pitch to Rogers and was bowled. 35-2-14. Botha came in and his stand with Niall O'Brien scored the bulk of the runs required. Together they scored 51 from 49 deliveries. Drummond only bowled one over in this spell and was replaced by Maiden, offspin. In Roger's second over O'Brien had a lucky escape from a run out. He was making for the bowler's end. The wicket-keeper received a throw, dropped it, so it could not be thrown to the bowler. O'Brien did not want the run in the first place.

50 went up in over 11. Maiden changed ends for over 13 and Botha hit the first ball for six to long-off and the over gave up 11. Drummond had returned and Botha took nine off the 14th over, including a glanced four. Blain returned for his fourth and last over for over 15. O'Brien, swinging wildly, was caught at the wicket. 84-3-21. The 16th over saw Rogers come back for his last over. Kevin O'Brien, having scored three singles in three balls, came down the pitch, head up, and was stumped. 89-4-3. Rogers injured a leg bowling this wicket taking ball and limped off. Berrington bowled the final ball of this over off which Johnston, who replaced O'Brien, took a single. Now, in four overs, 28 runs were required.

Nel bowled the 17th over. Botha square cut a high four to backward point and the over yielded eight runs. Now 20 runs were required in three overs. Maiden returned for over 18, his last. Botha advanced to the third ball and was bowled. 100-5-38. His 38 was by far the highest score of the innings. It came off 34 deliveries with one six and two fours. White was next and five singles came in the over. 15 runs were now required in two overs. The 19th over was Nel's last. White took a single. Johnston hit the third ball high to long-on. Long-off raced across in front of long-on and caught the ball. It was a great running catch and lucky to escape a collision between the fielders. 104-6-5.

Strydom joined White and four more runs came in the rest of over 19. Now nine runs were required to win in the last over, which would be bowled by Drummond. White glanced the first ball to fine leg for four. A single came from ball two. Then Strydom hit a two and a single. White actually hit the fifth ball for four to long-leg but, under modern laws, he only got one run as they completed a single, that was all that was needed to win, before the ball crossed the boundary. In the last five overs there were only 2 dot balls, and three fours were hit.

Scotland used six bowlers and five of them got the quota of four overs, or nearly so. Rogers, before he retired hurt, was the best bowler with 2-15.

For his three wickets and 38 runs Botha was declared the Man-of-the-Match

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