Ireland keep World Cup dream alive

Andrew Balbirnie top-scored for Ireland during their Super Six game against Scotland in Harare on Sunday. ICC

Balbirnie went past a century for the second time in his one day worldwide (ODI) career making a fine 105, while Niall O'Brien made 70 to steady the Irish ship after the early dismissals of Paul Stirling and William Porterfield left them in trouble on 45 for 2 in the 12th over.

"We felt that 270 kept us in the game". Had to back our batting.

Matthew Cross's dismissal in the seventh over did not hinder Coetzer as the Scotland captain combined with Calum MacLeod (21) to put on a 68-run partnership for the second wicket. Disappointed the other day with the bat against Zimbabwe, to bounce back today was pleasing.

"Going into the next match, we obviously need some results to go our way during the week, and if that's in place then we've got to be ready come Friday". It was Ireland's off-spinners that proved key in slowing down Scotland's replay, with Simi Singh taking two wickets for 33 off his 10 overs and Andrew McBrine bowling well without taking a wicket to finish with figures of none for 40. To make matters worse, Rankin then dropped Coetzer at third man, an extremely hard chance as the ball dipped well in front of him. But Rankin had the last laugh in this battle, getting Coetzer out in his second spell before knocking over George Munsey and Craig Wallace in successive overs.

For Scotland, fast bowler Wheal and Safyaan Sharif took three and two wickets conceding 43 and 52 runs, respectively.

Zimbabwe and the West Indies are set to meet tomorrow in a potentially crucial match in Harare.

Ireland enjoy playing cricket over St Patrick's weekend.

Put in by Scotland under grey, leaden skies, Ireland were carried to 271 for 9 by Balbirnie, who shared in a 138-run partnership with Niall O'Brien and went on to register his second one-day global century. O'Brien was quick to turn the strike over, while Balbirnie soaked up pressure and brought up a 78-ball fifty in the 22nd over. "It's great to have him in your team, and to have him take those wickets was just great for us".

"I just wanted to start well and stay in". There's no real game plan. "We know Afghanistan, they have had an up and down tournament but they are world class players and we will have to be at the top of our game", he added. Balbirnie reached his hundred - the second of his ODI career, and his second this year after his ton against UAE in January - in the 43rd over.

It was a situation tailor-made for Kevin O'Brien, who delivered exactly that with his 27-ball-46 - a knock studded with five fours and two sixes.

Scotland, for the first time in the tournament, would come up short.

Zimbabwe lead the points table with five points and meet the Windies on Monday in a match which will strengthen their chances of qualifying for the World Cup provided they beat the two-time former world champions.

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