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Ireland receive wake-up call with second defeat

Scotland 167 for 4 (Cross 48, Mommsen 47) beat Ireland 166 for 6 (Sharif 2-26) by six wickets
Scorecard

A week which was supposed to help dust off the cobwebs has proceeded to serve as an alarming wake-up call for Ireland. If John Bracewell, the new head coach, wasn't fully aware of the size of the task that lies ahead, then successive defeats to Scotland will have highlighted the challenge he faces.

For the second time in three days, Ireland were emphatically dispatched by their Associate adversaries in a fashion which has raised serious question marks over the capacity of many of Bracewell's squad to cut it at this level; there may have been some part of the New Zealander that had wished today's Twenty20 international had not been so hastily arranged after Friday's washout.

It was a perfect summer's day at Bready but it would have been bleak viewing for many of those in attendance. Without the spine of the side, there has been an element of trial and error this week for the hosts but not even the return of George Dockrell, who took three wickets, or Andrew Balbirnie's 31 could conceal the chinks in the armour.

Once again, a limited, and mediocre, attack was picked apart by Matthew Cross, who along with Preston Mommsen, provided the backbone of Scotland's pursuit of 167. Only Dockrell, who has endured a difficult season in county cricket, showed any measure of control with the ball as Craig Young, Graeme McCarter, Alex Cusack and Stuart Thompson all veered off their line and lengths and were ruthlessly exposed.

As England continue to enjoy their limited-overs renaissance across the water, Ireland appear to be struggling to adapt to what is now required in the shortest format. It may seem harsh to level such criticism towards a side that have enjoyed unparalleled dominance of the Associate ranks, but a few home truths are needed; these two performances have certainly provided substance for anyone who intends to aim fire.

There was a greater intensity with the bat, after Mommsen had called right for the third successive day, but the problems lie elsewhere. Kevin O'Brien briefly threatened to unleash his full array of shots and shift the momentum in his side's favour but Safyaan Sharif returned to have the Ireland captain caught at long-on just as he was beginning to motor.

166 was certainly a defendable total but Cross and Kyle Coetzer made light work of the chase with a stand of 73 and even when Cross fell two short of a destructive half-century, Mommsen, and then Richie Berrington, took up the mantle to seal an emboldening series win for Scotland with eleven balls remaining.

The sides meet again on Sunday, a fixture which has taken on an added significance for Ireland even if this series is now beyond them.

Scotland 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st1KJ CoetzerHG Munsey
2nd73KJ CoetzerMH Cross
3rd13MA LeaskMH Cross
4th13RD BerringtonMA Leask
5th67RD BerringtonPL Mommsen