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Ireland got off to a terrific start in the ongoing T20I quadrangular tournament which is being played in Oman. They defeated the hosts comfortably and are currently at the top of the ladder. They'll up against Scotland in the next match which is to be played at the same venue on 15th February. Scotland are currently placed at the third spot in the points table and will be desperate for a win after conceding the first game to the Netherlands. This quadrangular tournament is pretty short with each team facing the another only once. Therefore, each point is of vital significance and both the teams are expected to come out all guns blazing in the upcoming fixture.
In the absence of Gary Wilson, Paul Stirling did exceedingly well in the role of stand-in skipper as Ireland registered a 15-run win on the first day of the series. The increased responsibility rubbed positively on him as he played a match-defining knock of 71.
Kevin O' Brien was pushed to the top of the order and they move paid off after Ireland were put in by Omani skipper. Although he scored just 19, he played an instrumental role in taking pressure off Paul Stirling early in the innings which proved vital in the end. With Paul Stirling well set at one end and useful contributions from Andrew Balbirnie and Tucker, Ireland scored 159 runs for the loss of five wickets in their allotted 20 overs.
After a reasonable performance by their batsmen, it was Irish death bowling which sealed their win in this game. Irish bowlers kept chipping away with the wickets throughout the innings but weren't really effective in keeping Oman from scoring quickly. However, the introduction of spinners halted Oman's innings with quick wickets. JB Little, George Dockrell, and Simi Singh picked up seven wickets between them in the second half of the innings as Oman was restricted to just 144.
PR Stirling, Kevin O'Brien, Andy Balbirnie, Lorcan Tucker, Simi Singh, Shane Getkate, Stuart Poynter, WB Rankin, George Dockrell, Joshua Little, Peter Chase.
Scotland into the last match, against the Netherlands, as favorites but their batting, was neutralized well by the Netherlands' bowling.
Scotland got off to a superb start as George Munsey hammered seven boundaries in only the first two overs of the innings. However, his dismissal in the fourth over of the innings sparked a mini-collapse and momentum shifted back in the favor of men in orange. Calum Macleod did well to score a half-century but was helped by two dropped chances - one on 9 and another on 47. He was involved in a vital fifth-wicket partnership with Craig Wallace, the partnership which played an important role to thrust Scotland to a total of 154.
Scottish bowling largely proved to be ineffective against the Dutch bowling on Monday as their total was overhauled by the Netherlands with seven wickets in hand. Evans and Sharif bowled well between them and conceded 47 runs between them in their eight overs combined and pickup up a wicket. However, there wasn't much support from other bowlers as the Dutch were let off on many occasions.
George Munsey, Kyle Coetzer, Matthew Cross, Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington, Craig Wallace, Michael Leask, Ruaidhri Smith, Safyaan Sharif, Alasdair Evans, MRJ Watt.
With just a few more matches to go in this series, a couple of two points are of vital significance for both the sides. Two more points will push Ireland to the top of the table whereas a couple of points for Scotland will mean survival in the tournament. Although Scotland lost the last match, they had plenty of positives to take home. The 11th ranked side in Global T20 rankings, Scotland, are expected to fare better in the upcoming battle and are our pick to emerge victorious in their encounter with Ireland.
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