With England having played and narrowly lost their last ODI World Cup warm-up match yesterday against Pakistan, it was the turn of Scotland and Ireland to complete their preparations in matches today in Sydney. They enjoyed somewhat mixed emotions, as Ireland were able to overcome Bangladesh, but the Scots suffered an agonising defeat at the hands of the always entertaining West Indies.
Ireland's first target in their match against Bangladesh was surely to be far more competitive than in their extremely disappointing first two warm-ups, both of which they had lost, especially the rather one-sided reversal against the Scots. They began in positive fashion, bowling the opposition out relatively cheaply for 189. Their main 'destroyers' were Max Sorensen and John Mooney, as each bagged a handy three-wicket haul to increase hopes of a rare team victory.
In response, they slumped to 78-4 as their familiar failures seemed to come back to haunt them, but then showed strength of character to dig themselves out of the hole they were in, and to ease themselves over the winning line with over three overs to spare. They were thankful for a splendid 59-run partnership between Ed Joyce (with 47) and an unbeaten knock of 63 from Andrew Balbirnie, as they took a much-needed four-wicket success.
The Irish will face the unpredictable West Indies in their World Cup opener on Monday in Nelson.
Scotland were brought down with a bump after the elation of beating the Irish last time out, but can remain proud of their performance in narrowly losing to the West Indies in their last warm-up game. It proved to be a closer than expected game after the 'Windies' had posted a target of 313 for victory for the Scots. Denesh Ramdin top scored for the Caribbean nation with 88, as they would have been quietly confident of defending their score against their rivals.
Scotland seemed well on course to achieve a notable scalp, when they reached 300 for the loss of just five wickets, but a late order collapse caused them to lose all five remaining wickets for the addition of just ten runs. The final wicket fell on the very last ball, as their final score of 310 all out left them just three runs short of the Windies target. #CricketVice-captain Kyle Coetzer fell just short of his century with 96, while Richie Berrington backed that up with 66 himself. An encouraging overall performance for the Scots, but one they will feel should not have got away from them.