After having controlled the previous two games Ireland found the going a lot tougher today as the Scots continued to improve as the series progressed and claim an easy win in the last match of this three game series.Chasing Ireland’s total of 241/9 which, despite containing a late flurry of runs still looked under par.
Cross went in the second over, caught on the fine leg boundary hooking a short one from Young, for 1.
The possibility of Young going through the Scottish like a dose of salts again must have loomed large in Scottish minds but Ireland had to wait 35.5 overs before their next wicket as Macleod and Gardner racked up the highest second wicket partnership in One Day Internationals. Their stand of 179 saw them take control of the run rate early and after the mandatory 10 over powerplay Scotland were 50/1.
An aggressive decision to take the batting powerplay immediately (instead of just leaving it to languish until being forced into using it late in the innings) kept the scoring rate consistent. After 15 overs Scotland were 72/1 (compared to Ireland’s 43/1 at the same stage) and in control.
Macleod consistently caught the Irish fielding on the back foot and picked up singles at will, nerdling around the infield and ‘drop and running’ as well as punishing the bad ball all the way to the boundary kept the scoreboard constantly moving. Both MacLeod and Gardner were on their way to centuries until the part time spin of Balbirnie claimed Gardner as his first O.D.I. wicket, caught behind, against the run of play for 89 off 98 balls.
Captain Mommsen joined MacLeod at the crease and saw MacLeod to his century off 128 balls and also saw Scotland home without further incident with 26 balls to spare.
At the start of the day play was delayed for 30 minutes due to dew and some wispy mist. Scotland won the toss for the first time this series and chose to field sending Ireland in to bat under cloudy skies.
Things didn't look good for the Scots as Balbirnie was dropped in the first over off an edge that was a difficult chance for keeper Matty Cross, but one that should've been taken. The miss didn't cost Scotland much as Sharif had Balbirnie L.B.W. to one that kept low a few overs later for 6.
Mommsen juggled the bowling constantly and succeeded in keeping Ireland's scoring rate low. By the time Haq came on to bowl in the 18th over Ireland had worked hard on their way to 49/1.
By the end of Haq’s first over Ireland were 50/3 with Thompson and Anderson back in the dressing room.
Haq was Scotland’s most successful bowler claiming his best figures in O.D.I.s ending with 5/ 54, none more impressive than a sharp caught and bowled as he parried a full blooded Sorensen drive to take it with bruised hands on the second attempt.
For the most part the Irish batting lacked staying power as batsmen played themselves in only to get out. Mooney was the one to stand up and be counted and scored his first half century in four years. He started watchfully and moved up the gears as the game progressed. He finally fell on 96 off the penultimate ball of the innings, caught at point going for the boundary that would give him a well deserved century. Coming in when Ireland’s score was 95/3 and leaving when he had guided them to 240/9 he was the one responsible for Ireland’s fighting total and a knowledgeable crown thanked him warmly for his contribution.
It was an inning in vain though as Scotland brought some long overdue composure to their performance and head home with a consolation victory to smile about despite losing the series two games to one.