A blazing half-century from Scotland opener George Munsey laid the platform for a five-wicket victory in the opening warm-up game on Ireland's tour of the UAE, which culminates in the T20 World Cup later this month.
Having set Scotland 177 to win, Ireland began strongly, with Josh Little removing Ollie Hairs with the third ball of the chase, the opener pulling to Curtis Campher at midwicket.
Munsey and Calum MacLeod then combined to put on the game’s defining stand, adding 104 runs in 8.1 overs. Munsey was the aggressor, smashing 67 runs from 25 balls, with seven fours and five sixes.
The assault began immediately, with Mark Adair’s opening over sent for 17. Every over between the second and the seventh cost at least nine runs, with Ben White’s opening over, the first following the powerplay, costing 20.
Andrew McBrine conceded six singles in the eighth over, restoring some normality to proceedings, and Munsey fell soon after, ramping Campher to fine leg.
That began a fightback from Ireland, with Scotland suffering a mini-collapse of 21-4. White struck twice, enticing MacLeod to hole out to Harry Tector on the leg-side fence before settling under a high chance from Richie Berrington himself, and Graham Kennedy delivered the ball of the contest, turning one through the gap between Dylan Budge’s bat and pad.
But the damage had been done. Craig Wallace and Michael Leask had the freedom to take their time, and put on the 51 runs needed for victory in 5.4 overs. Ireland kept things interesting for a time, taking the equation to 35 needed from the last five overs, but 13 runs scored in each of overs 16 and 17 helped the Scots to victory by five wickets with 13 balls remaining.
Earlier, Ireland had made an imposing 176 thanks to a series of contributions from throughout the order. While Paul Stirling fell second ball, hitting Hamza Tahir to Richie Berrington at cover, Kevin O’Brien’s nine was the lowest score among batters two to nine.
O’Brien struck crisply twice through the off-side before edging behind off Chris Sole, and Andrew Balbirnie top-edged Hamza Tahir to fine-leg for 10, before an action-packed fifth over wrested momentum back.
Campher was on strike to Sole for the fifth over, and with the speedster struggling for line and length, a series of no-balls and wides saw 10 balls bowled in the over. Campher struck three of those for four and three more for six, including a second dangerous full toss which saw Sole removed from the attack. At one point, 30 runs were scored in the space of three legal deliveries.
Regular wickets pegged Ireland back. In the first over out of the powerplay, Gareth Delany holed out of Leask, and Campher fell to the same bowler two balls later for 35. Neil Rock and Tector then combined to put on 56 runs for the sixth wicket, with Rock taking the attack to Scotland. He struck three sixes in his 19-ball 32, while Tector played the foil well, occupying 32 balls for his 38.
The pair fell in consecutive overs, but with three overs left to bat, McBrine and Adair gave Ireland a strong finish, each striking a six and a four. Three wickets in the final over kept Ireland to 176, bowled out in exactly 20 overs, but the total still looked formidable. But Munsey had other ideas as Scotland won by five wickets with 13 balls remaining.