Ireland claim WCL Championship with thumping win
Ireland 166 for 3 (Niall O"Brien 65*, Joyce 39) beat Scotland 165 (MacLeod 39) by 7 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Having already ticked off one major box - qualifying for the 2015 World Cup in July - Ireland secured the World Cricket League Championship trophy after beating Scotland convincingly by seven wickets at Stormont.
It was a one-sided encounter after the two sides played out a thriller two days ago, with the hosts winning both games. Ireland's seamers set it up by bundling out Scotland for 165 and their batsmen, led by Niall O'Brien, needed just 33 overs to chase it down.
Scotland chose to bat and lost their first wicket in the fourth over when Freddie Coleman was trapped lbw by Max Sorensen. Hamish Gardiner and Matt Machan added 25 for the second wicket before Gardiner edged to the keeper, giving the seamer Eddie Richardson his first ODI wicket. The Ireland top order failed to put up sizeable stands, and were struggling at 61 for 4 in the 21st over.
Calum MacLeod and Richie Berrington then staged the only half-century stand of the innings. The pair struggled to push the scoring initially, at one stage scoring just five runs in as many overs. Berrington broke the drought with two boundaries off Richardson. Scotland took the Powerplay in the 36th over, but failed to capitalise, scoring only 19 runs off it. The partnership ended in the 42nd over, when Berrington chipped a full delivery to wide mid-on, giving Kevin O'Brien his third wicket. MacLeod tried to slog a slower ball by Richardson to cow corner but lost his stumps, leaving Scotland at 145 for 6 in the 45th over. The pressure caused by the lack of runs led to the lower order throwing their bats around and Scotland could only manage a modest 165. Stuart Thompson ended the innings when he bowled Iain Wardlaw in the 50th over.
Wardlaw was in action early with the ball when he removed the Ireland openers within seven overs. William Porterfield, who scored a century against England in an ODI earlier in the week, fell for 5 and the visitors had claimed an important wicket. However, Scotland couldn't sustain the pressure after those breakthroughs. Ed Joyce and Niall O'Brien took the game away from them with a stand of 69, interrupted by rain. Joyce fell in the 19th over when he was bowled by the spinner Majid Haq. An aggressive stand of 75 between Niall O'Brien and Gary Wilson sealed the win for Ireland with 17 overs to spare, a testament to their domination in the tournament in which they dropped just one game out of 14.
Scotland needed to win both their weekend fixtures to boost their chances of gaining direct qualification for the World Cup. Having failed to do so, they will have to try their luck in the World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand next year. Afghanistan, currently third in the points table with 15 points, can finish second and gain qualification, if they can beat Kenya in their two remaining games.