Ireland bag World Cup berth with six-wicket win
Ben Ackland's unbeaten 71 guided Ireland to a six-wicket win against Scotland in the European Under-19 qualifier in Belfast and helped his side gain a berth in the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia.
Rain reduced the match to 35 overs-a-side and Scotland posted 157, boosted by Calum MacLeod's 58, a knock which contained eight fours and two sixes. His partnership with Scott MacLennan (36) helped them recover from a shaky start at 47 for 4. Richard Keaveney, Graham McDonnell and captain Greg Thompson claimed three wickets each to bowl out the opposition in 34 overs.
Another rain interruption reduced the target to 150 and the overs to 32. Ireland were rocked early in their chase by MacLeod's double-strike before Ackland and Chris Dougherty combined to add 99 for the third wicket. Ackland's knock came off 70 balls and included eight fours while Dougherty played the supporting act with a patient 37 off 77 balls which contained two fours.
Thompson said that the senior team's performance in the recent World Cup in the West Indies, qualifying for the Super Eights, impacted the nation's cricket in a big way.
"The seniors made the country proud in the ICC Cricket World Cup in the West Indies which, of course, was a huge motivation for all of us, while at the junior level we have won all the European titles," Thompson was quoted in a ICC media release. "The team is shaping well and we look to be heading in the right direction."
Ireland have now qualified for their third successive Under-19 World Cup. Scotland, though, still have the chance to qualify for the 16th place. A play-off, at a venue and date to be confirmed next month, will be held between them and the top team in the Asia group, bar Malaysia. As hosts, Malaysia have received an automatic place - to encourage local support.
In the third and fourth placed play-off match at Stormont , Netherlands demolished Denmark for 46 and eased to a nine-wicket win. Olivier de Geus and Graeme Davey led the rout with three wickets each in after rain reduced the match to 41 overs-a-side.