Botha leads Ireland's cricketers to win over Scots

Andre Botha starred with bat and ball as Ireland overcame a spirited Scotland fightback to take a giant stride towards next year’s ICC World Twenty20 in England.

Andre Botha starred with bat and ball as Ireland overcame a spirited Scotland fightback to take a giant stride towards next year’s ICC World Twenty20 in England.

The 32-year-old took three wickets for 18 runs as Scotland subsided to 117 all out before making 38 at better than a run a ball to steer Ireland towards their victory target.

Ireland then collapsed from 83 for two to 104 for six but Reinhardt Strydom hit two boundaries off the final over to see his side home with just a ball to spare.

Scotland captain Ryan Watson won the toss and chose to bat and lead by example, making 24 from 16 balls before falling to Kevin O’Brien.

Gavin Hamilton joined Watson in the pavilion next ball when he skied Peter Connell to Botha at midwicket and Colin Smith followed an over later.

Durham-star Kyle Coetzer was next to go for 11 when he played the ball on to his stumps off Botha – but Neil McCallum joined Richard Berrington to get the innings back on track.

They added 40 in six overs before Botha removed both in the 16th over – with wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien taking the catches on both occasions.

When Alex Cusack returned to trap Gregor Maiden and John Blain leg before wicket in the next over, Scotland were in deep trouble at 98 for eight.

Cusack had a fourth wicket when Gordon Drummond found William Porterfield in the covers and Scotland were dismissed from the final ball when Dewald Nel was caught by Kyle McCallan off Kevin O’Brien.

But Ireland did not have things all their own way in reply with Nel and Blain probing away with the new ball.

Nel struck with the first delivery of the fourth over – bowling Porterfield for seven and Glenn Rogers joined the attack in the seventh over to bowl Gary Wilson for 14 to leave the hosts struggling at 33 for two.

Niall O’Brien – who had a superb Twenty20 season with Northamptonshire – and the experienced Botha took their time to get in before gradually chipping away at the target.

Botha smashed Maiden over long-off for a huge six as the partnership passed 50 before Blain returned to the attack to find O’Brien’s edge, with Smith taking a simple catch behind.

O’Brien’s brother Kevin was then stumped by Smith off Rogers for three and when Botha was bowled by Maiden with 18 still needed from 15 balls the nerves set in.

Former skipper Trent Johnston could not arrest the slide as he was bowled by Nel for five and Ireland required 11 from the final over.

But Strydom tickled Drummond to the fine leg boundary off the first ball and got back on strike to repeat the trick and score the winning runs with just a ball to spare.

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