Ireland v Scotland, 2nd ODI, Malahide September 10, 2014

Ireland take series after late wobble

Ireland 225 for 7 (K O'Brien 67) beat Scotland 221 (Berrington 101, Sorensen 4-40, Young 3-39) by three wickets
Scorecard

For over a century the Scots have been voyaging across the Irish sea armed with whites and willow. On few occasions have they not made the return journey empty-handed and even the acclaimed hospitality will have done little to enrich their humbling visits to the Emerald Isle.

Their record on Irish soil in ODIs now stands at played six, lost six as Ireland once more claimed the bragging rights, but this time Scotland made them work for their victory and at 186 for 7 the result was far from assured before John Mooney calmed Irish nerves. A tighter game, though, will have done Ireland no harm in this pre-World Cup workout.

Scotland are a side resigned to the protracted nature of transition but even this, a week in which they have been outplayed and outmuscled, is an alarming reality check five months out from a third appearance on the sport's most exalted stage. There has, however, been a glimpse of light, or two, not least a striking innings from Richie Berrington, the South-African born batsman, who recorded his maiden ODI century.

It was a lone hand though. Much like on Monday, the Scottish top order wilted in the face of Ireland's calculated blitz and while Berrington, along with Josh Davey and then Ali Evans, managed to thrust their side to a semblance of respectability, they were unable to apply the same stranglehold they had been put under when Ireland went about their chase of 222.

As it was, a late rally ensured the scorecard would have a polished look to it from a Scottish perspective but they were always behind the eight ball. Kevin O'Brien scored his second fifty of the series - the first time he had reached the landmark in successive games for Ireland in seven years - to once again take the sting out of any potential Scottish retaliation with the ball.

However, a fine diving catch away to his right from wicketkeeper Matthew Cross off Evans to remove O'Brien, for 67 from 65 balls, in the 35th over was the moment of inspiration his side needed. Stuart Poynter was brilliantly run out by Evans at midwicket a couple of overs later and when Stuart Thompson was trapped in front by Michael Leask, Ireland were wobbling.

Just as he has done on countless occasions before, Mooney, in just his second game back from an extended break from the game due to a stress related illness, played the role of finisher to ease his side over the line with five overs remaining.

In truth, Ireland made hard work of a chase that ought to have been a lot more straightforward. They will, however, be all the better for the workout but for much of the early part of the match it did not appear they would be pushed that far. That they did was solely down to a century of great tenacity and perseverance from Berrington; he could teach his team-mates a thing or two.

An innings which started in survival mode gradually moved through the gears as he and Davey frustrated the hosts and halted their early onslaught. Max Sorensen had accounted for three of the top four, utilising the two-paced pitch and early-morning conditions, to reduce Scotland to 48 for 5. There was a distant possibility the visiting Scots would have a free afternoon to take in the sights of the Irish capital.

Berrington, however, had other ideas. His 84-run stand for the sixth wicket with Davey included an array of shots around the wicket before the latter could only fend Craig Young to gully. Berrington was having no such issues with the Irish bowlers as he struck eight fours and a powerful six to reach three figures for the first time. It was the type of innings worthy of being match winning. Ultimately, it was in vain.

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