Ireland 172 and 196 (Joyce 61) beat Scotland 234 for 9 dec and 131 (McCoubrey 4-17) by three runs

Neil MacRae bowls Adrian McCoubrey during his devastating four-wicket opening burst © Cricket Europe
Scotland's hopes of successfully defending their Intercontinental Cup title disappeared as they slid to a three-run defeat by Ireland at Aberdeen. The result, which will give Ireland satisfaction after their loss in last month's ICC Trophy final, means that they are left needing a draw from their match Holland at Stormont later this month to progress to the semi-finals.

Scotland's bowlers had given them a chance of victory by bowling Ireland out for 196, leaving a modest target of 135 in 39 overs. But some poor batting, one or two dubious umpiring decisions, and a devastating four-wicket opening spell from Adrian McCoubrey which reduced Scotland to 34 for 4 proved too much to overcome.

The home side were further hampered when Craig Wright was found to have suffered a broken finger, which will rule him out of Thursday's match against Australia. Coming in at No. 9 with the score on 78 for 7, he hammered a brave 31, including two huge 6s on the trot, to take Scotland to the brink of victory only for Dewald Nel to be run out off the next delivery.

Ireland resumed on 46 for 2, but for a second time their batsmen could not master the bowling, with only Dom Joyce (61) and Andre Botha (46) showing any real definace. Gregor Maiden (3 for 24), Ryan Watson (3 for 64) and Johan Nel (3 for 30) shared the spoils.

"It was lots of wee things throughout the three days that did for us, not the final chase," said Andy Moles, Scotland's coach. "We let Ireland's lower order get far too many runs on the first day, then we didn't get enough ourselves in reply. And, crucially, after Craig Wright broke his finger, he didn't bowl much. I am certain his absence from the attack cost us wickets at important times."

  • The Scotsman reported that there was a bizarre start to the day when Colin Smith, Scotland's wicketkeeper, missed the first 40 minutes of play. Smith, a policeman, was summoned to Aberdeen Sheriff Court as a witness but, fortunately for him, the hearing was abandoned as the accused overslept.