HOBART: Ireland found their hero in Curtis Campher in a must-win game to chase down a 177-run target and script a memorable comeback against Scotland to stay alive in the T20 World cup at Bellerive Oval on Wednesday.
Ireland scored 109 runs in just nine overs on the back of an unbeaten 119-run partnership between Campher and George Dockrell to take Ireland to a famous six-wicket victory over Scotland.
Michael Jones crafted a brilliant inning after losing his opening partner early to become the highest scorer by an Associate team in a T20 World Cup and smashed a superb knock 86(55) to guide Scotland to 176/5.
Campher was the pick of the Irish bowlers, ending with 2/9 from two overs. Chasing the target in a must-win game, the onus was on the experienced opening duo of Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie to give Ireland a good start but Brad Wheal struck in the fourth over to get rid of Balbirnie 14(12) who looked in fine touch.
Stirling 8(10) could not capitalize on his reprieve and was dismissed by Safyaan Sharif in the fifth over. Ireland ended the powerplay at 37/2. Lorcan Tucker 20(17) played some attacking shots to keep the scoreboard ticking but was sent back by Mark Watt further leaving Ireland in trouble.
Harry Tector 14(16) too perished in an attempt to up the scoring rate after he was caught at the boundary off Michael Leask.
Ireland were looking down the barrel at 65/4 at the end of 10 overs but the batting pair of Curtis Campher and George Dockrell came out all guns blazing to take the attack to the Scottish bowlers with a fantastic display of cricketing shots, scoring boundaries regularly to shift the momentum towards Ireland.
The batting pair bludgeoned 71 runs between overs 12-16 to bring back their team in the game. Ireland needed just 35 from their last four overs, with the match within their grasp. Campher brought up his fifty in just 25 deliveries in the 18th over.
Dockrell and Campher stitched a 100-run partnership in just 53 balls with the latter being the prime destructor of the Scottish bowling. Campher absolutely took apart the Scottish bowlers to give Ireland a crucial victory with an over to spare. Campher remained unbeaten with 72 while Dockrell scored 39*.
Opting to bat first, Scotland lost opener George Munsey 1(2), after being trapped in front of the wickets by Mark Adair in the second over. Jones and Matthew Cross then stitched a 59-run partnership to steady the Scottish inning.
Scotland ended their powerplay with 39/1, Cross playing the aggressor while Jones stuck to be watchful. Cross was dismissed in the ninth over by Campher off a slower ball after scoring a quality 28(21). At the end of the 10 overs, Scotland were 73/2 with Jones still at the crease.
A quick 77-run partnership between Jones and Richie Berrington gave Scotland's inning much-needed impetus. Berrington made 37(27) with Jones also starting to bat aggressively.
Jones was finally dismissed by Joshua Little in the 19th over but ensured that Scotland reached a fighting total. Curtis Campher also starred with the ball for Ireland taking two wickets. Curtis Campher was declared the 'Player of the Match' for her matchwinning contributions with both the bat and ball.
Brief Scores: Ireland 180/4 (Curtis Campher 72*, George Dockrell 39*; Brad Wheal 1/24) vs Scotland 176/5 (Michael Jones 86, Richie Berrington 37; Curtis Campher 2/9)