The result of the game between Scotland and Ireland will decide the Dubai Triangular Series which has been played in the UAE over the past two weeks as a warm-up for next month’s ICC World Cup.
Afghanistan’s 71-run victory over Ireland yesterday (Saturday) prevented the Irish side from winning the tournament with a game to spare and gives Scotland the chance to nip in and steal the trophy on net run rate.
Ireland won the toss in yesterday’s game and put Afghanistan into bat, only to see them make the highest score by any side in the tournament so far as they closed on 246-8 after 50 overs.
Dockrell’s first spell was supremely economical as he kept the pressure on the Afghan batsmen, conceding just nine runs in five overs with one maiden.
His second two-over spell began with a maiden, but even though his next over went for a four and a two singles, he could still be proud of excellent figures of 7-2-15-0, with Afghanistan 113-3 after 32 overs.
Afghanistan though began to force the pace, with Najibullah Zadran playing an explosive knock as his side smashed 119 runs off the last 13 overs of their innings.
Brought back to bowl the 42nd over, Dockrell was hit over long-off for six by Zadran before picking up Samiullah Shewari lbw with a good length ball which pitched on middle stump.
Dockrell managed to contain Zadran in his next over, conceding just three runs, but his figures took some real damage during his tenth and final over as Zadran really started to take the attack to the Irish bowlers. The Afghan all-rounder came down the pitch to the young Irish spinner and hit him for six as well as cutting him past point for four and lofting the ball behind square for four more. After that onslaught, Dockrell finished with final figures of 10-2-44-1.
Zadran meantime continued to play his shots, taking 21 off one over from Alex Cusack and eventually fell for 83 off just 50 balls, having smacked seven fours and six sixes.
Pace bowler Carl Young was the pick of the Irish attack with three wickets, while there were also three for former Somerset T20 player Kevin O’Brien who claimed the prize wicket of Zadran and then struck twice in the final over to arrest the Afghan assault.
In reply, most of the Irish batsmen got good starts, but no-one could go on to build a sizeable innings, Paul Stirling top scoring with 36. They lost wickets at regular intervals, but after 35 overs were comfortably ahead of where Afghanistan had been at the same stage. Zadran’s innings though was the difference between the two sides and Ireland still needed another 102 runs in 15 overs in order to win. That proved beyond them as they quickly collapsed. The last five wickets fell for just 17 runs in 5.4 overs.
Tomorrow’s game between Ireland and Scotland is due to get underway at 5.30am UK time. The two sides last met in the tournament last Monday when Ireland successfully chased down 216-9 to win by three wickets with 21 balls to spare. Dockrell bowled just five overs in that game for 28 runs, while Davey was rested.
Since then, as we reported on The Incider on Thursday, Davey returned career best figures of 6-28 in a comprehensive 150-run win over Afghanistan as well as scoring an unbeaten half-century and is in fantastic form. Dockrell too had an excellent match earlier in the tournament when he returned figures of 4-35 to help defeat Afghanistan on 10 January, reaching 50 wickets in one-day internationals in the process.
We’ll bring you news of what is certain to be an exciting climax to the Dubai series here on The Incider.