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Niall O'Brien scored an unbeaten 80 to steer Ireland to another three wicket win over Scotland in their second match of the Dubai Tri-Series.

The Leicestershire player showed all his experience in recording his highest ODI score - his previous best of 72 came in Ireland's historic World Cup win over Pakistan in 2007.

The gritty left-hander shared a crucial 7th wicket partnership of 61 with John Mooney (36) after the game had been evenly poised with Ireland 143 for 6 chasing a Scotland total of 216/9.

O'Brien's 80 came from 106 deliveries (3 fours, 2 sixes), as he cleverly rotated the strike, forging vital stands of 43 with Andrew Balbirnie (20) and 42 in conjunction with Gary Wilson (21) after Ireland had once again yet lost early wickets.

Skipper William Porterfield (0) fell second ball, while Ed Joyce (5) was trapped lbw shortly afterwards. Paul Stirling struck a typically breezy 28 from 21 balls, but his dismissal, bowled by Iain Wardlaw (2-45) had Ireland struggling at 38 for 3 before O'Brien's salvage operation.

Earlier, Craig Young's opening burst had Scotland in early dificulties as they collapsed to 17 for 3. The former Sussex player impressed yet again with the new ball, as he took 3 for 27 in his ten over spell.

It was a current Sussex player who rescued the Scotland innings, as Matt Machan shepherded the middle and late order towards a competitive total.

The sturdy left-hander top scored with 86 from 120 balls (4 fours), sharing a 5th wicket stand of 65 with Richie Berrington (28).

Scotland's final tally of 216 for 9 was boosted by the concession of 30 extras - 22 of which were wides - which won't have pleased Ireland coach Phil Simmons. It could have been the difference between success and failure in such a tight contest, but thankfully O'Brien ensured an Irish win.

Simmons will have been much happier with the Irish fielding display which ensured two direct hit run outs by John Mooney and George Dockrell.

Mooney again opened the bowling in the absence of the injured Tim Murtagh, finishing with 2 for 52, while Alex Cusack continued his comeback after missing most of the domestic campaign, taking 2 for 35.

Ireland are next in action on Saturday (5:30am UK/Ireland) when they face Afghanistan, while the next game in the series sees Scotland take on the Afghans in Thursday in Abu Dhabi.


(Cricket Ireland)