ICC World Cup Qualifier 2018
Scotland vs Ireland, Super Sixes Match 4
As the ICC World Cup qualifiers enter the business end of the tournament, Ireland and Scotland will go head-to-head in a critical Super six clash on Sunday, March 18th at the Harare Sports Club. Only two teams have stayed unbeaten in the tournament: hosts Zimbabwe and Scotland.
While Scotland will aim to maintain the unbeaten run, the pressure will be on Ireland, who after qualifying into the Super Sixes stage with two points, faltered against the hosts as their batsmen failed to chase down 212 set by Zimbabwe. The match against Scotland gives them the opportunity to redeem their campaign in a bid to keep their hopes alive of qualifying for the World Cup due to be staged in England & Wales next year.
Venue: Harare Sports Club, Harare
When: March 18th, 2017
The defending champions have been in red-hot form thus far in the tournament having stayed unbeaten in the league stage. They overcame UAE by 73 runs in their previous Super-Six game on the back of an amazing hundred by opener Matthew Cross (114) coupled by handy contributions from McLeod (78), Coetzer (43) and Berrington (30).
While the top-order of Scotland has done the majority of the work, with all of them averaging over 30, their lower middle-order is still untested. The fact was testified to the hilt when they were unable to close out a low scoring match against Zimbabwe. The Scotts would like to expunge the aforementioned weakness out when they take on the Irish on Sunday.
While their top-order has been in amazing form, their bowling is spearheaded by Safyaan Sharif, who with 12 wickets to his name is second on the list of wicket-takers and he would once again hold the key for his team on Sunday.
Batting: Matthew Cross (161 runs from five games)
The wicket-keeper batsman was in red-hot form in the previous game against the UAE as he plummeted the bowlers with a pristine 114 and his performance will have a substantial bearing on the outcome of the game.
Bowling: Safyaan Sharif (12 wickets in five games)
With 12 wickets in five games, including a maiden 5-wicket haul, Sharif will be a key bowler for Scotland.
If the ignominy of a gut-wrenching loss to host Zimbabwe wasn't enough, Ireland now faces another beaten side of the tournament in Scotland. The encounter bodes as a do-or-die encounter for the Irish who came into the Super Sixes with two points and a further blip in performance could shatter their 2019 World Cup dream.
While their top-order led by Porterfield, Stirling and the O'Brien brothers have been doing pretty well, their failure in the previous game against Zimbabwe highlighted their middle and lower order struggles. Their bowling though has been top-class throughout the tournament by their leading wicket-taker Tim Murtagh (11) who is ably supported by McCarthy and Rankin.
Scotland: Kyle Coetzer (c), Richie Berrington, Matthew Cross, Alasdair Evans, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Tom Sole, Craig Wallace (wk), Mark Watt, Brad Wheal, Stuart Whittingham
Batting: Paul Stirling (212 runs in 4 matches)
With 212 runs at an average of 53.0, Paul Stirling has been a cornerstone of Ireland's batting throughout the tournament and is expected to play a key role in his team's fortunes in the upcoming matches.
Bowling: Tim Murtagh (11 wickets in five matches)
With 11 wickets at a miserly economy of 3.77, Murtagh has been a revelation for Ireland thus far and the team would be hoping that Murtagh replicates his performance in the do-or-die encounter Scotland, the same opposition against whom he scalped three wickets in the warm-up fixture.
William Porterfield (c), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien (wk), Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson
Where to live stream Scotland vs Ireland, Super-Six encounter?
The live telecast of the match can be streamed at Star Sports Select 2/HD and can also be viewed online at Hotstar.com.