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Stirling stars with 81 but Ireland tie against Scotland

Ireland 185 for 6 (Stirling 81, Sharif 2-31) tied Scotland 185 for 4 (Coetzer 54, Singh 1-34)

Paul Stirling made the most of a let-off on the second ball of the Ireland chase to break his own Ireland record for his side's highest score in T20 internationals in a dramatic tie with Scotland at Deventer. It's just the 10th tied result ever in the format, including tournament-matches decided later by a super over, and first since England tied Pakistan at Sharjah in November 2015. Interestingly, it was also the first game in T20I cricket that was left as a tie, and not decided by a super over or bowl out.

Ireland needed seven off the final over with five wickets in hand and Kevin O'Brien well-set on 28, but Safyaan Sharif denied an Irish win against the odds by dismissing O'Brien off the first ball. Just four runs came off the next four balls to leave Ireland three to win off the final ball, but Stuart Thompson was able to scamper a two to long-on to level the scores.

Stirling had yet to score in Ireland's pursuit of Scotland's 185 when he was spilled over the rope at deep square leg for six off the bowling of Sharif but went on to make a 27-ball half-century, his eighth in T20Is. The second life was reminiscent of his bruising half-century against Scotland in last year's semi-final at the Desert T20 Challenge when Stirling was dropped in the first over of the match off Mark Watt.

Just like in Dubai, Stirling punished Scotland for the error, bashing 81 off 41 balls. In the process, Stirling eclipsed the previous best for Ireland made by himself in the final of the 2012 World T20 Qualifier when he cracked 79 off 38 balls in a championship winning performance over Afghanistan. His innings ended 19 short of what would have been Ireland's first T20I ton when he slashed left-arm spinner Hamza Tahir to short third man for Tahir's maiden T20I wicket.

By that stage, Ireland needed 60 off the final 6.2 overs with six wickets in hand. O'Brien replaced Stirling and kept the required run rate in check with three sixes in his knock to steer Ireland into the final over before falling with victory in sight.

Scotland had raced to an impressive start behind captain Kyle Coetzer and George Munsey, who added 93 in eight overs. However, Ireland's bowling unit did a spectacular job reeling them in over the final 12 overs during which Scotland scored at less than eight per over.

Coetzer eventually fell at the end of the 14th over for a top-score of 54, but Scotland struggled to press on despite plenty of wickets in hand. Thompson produced a superb containing spell of 0 for 16 in three overs while Stirling also kept Scotland's middle order from breaking away with 0 for 22 in three as Scotland failed to score a boundary in a six-over stretch from the 11th through the 16th.

Scotland had a brief surge in the 19th when Barry McCarthy conceded 21 in a nine-ball over that began with a no-ball. Both the overstep and the ensuing free hit went for four as Scotland pressed on toward their second highest T20I total. But they stuttered once more at the finish as medium pacer Peter Chase conceded just six singles in the 20th over to a well-set Calum MacLeod (46 not out off 39 balls) and Richie Berrington. Chase's death spell proved vital in the final result.

Despite ICC playing conditions implemented in September 2017 calling for a super over to decide all ties in T20Is, no super over was played.