|World Cricket League Division 1: Nairobi, January-February 2007|
Scotland win last ball thriller
Scotland pulled off a thrilling victory off the last ball of the 100th cricket match of all time against Ireland, at the start of the ICC World Cricket League in Nairobi yesterday.
Set to make 281 to win on a flat but slowish pitch, the Scots were always a little ahead of the Irish at equivalent points, and were indebted to a maiden one-day international century by Neil McCallum.
In a key match-changing moment, hne had been magnificently caught on the fine leg boundary by William Porterfield in the previous over, and was halfway back to the pavilion. But, after umpires Darrell Hair and Roger Dill conferred, the fielder was adjudged to have touched the rope and McCallumís six took him to 99.
He was out on reaching three figures, from just 92 balls, with the Scots still needing 33 for victory from the three overs remaining. Scotland captain Craig Wright joined wicket-keeper Colin Smith and the pair faced a target of 15 to win off the final over. A six by each player brought the scores level with two left, and Wright hit over the top for the winning boundary off the final ball.
Earlier, Jeremy Bray had led the way with a fine innings of 116, though he might have been caught on the boundary when on nine, the ball going over Ross Lyonsí head as evidence that, in the thin air of 5,500 feet, the flight of the ball is difficult to judge.
McCallum also dropped a more straightforward chance from Eoin Morgan off Wright when he was on 12, and went on to make 41 before he was caught behind brilliantly by Smith standing up to Wright.
Irish skipper Trent Johnstone and Kyle McCallan put on 62 off the last five overs of their sideís innings, which threatened to take the game beyond Scotlandís reach.
Scotlandís reliable opening bowler Paul Hoffmann took 3-44, and off-spinner Majid Haq weighed in with 3-53, but the Scots bowling has seen more inspiring performances in the field, still suffering perhaps from their digestive troubles of the past week.
Haq then scored his second half-century in four innings at the top of the Scotland batting order, though he took 10 overs to progress from 40 to 50, losing four runs off the scoreboard on the way!
The catalytic Ryan Watson disappointed himself skying a hook to Kevin OíBrien for just 22, while Smith finished undefeated on 49 to complete what will be remembered as one of Scotlandís finest-ever victories over their old foes.