Rivals cancel out each other

ONLY two teams have been undefeated so far in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018: hosts Zimbabwe, and Scotland. Going into the fourth match of the Super Sixes stage, both sides find themselves even on points and at the top of the table.

Scotland, the defending champions, will be desperate to maintain their hold. And in doing that, they face one of their toughest tests today, taking on Ireland.

Ireland, who came into the Super Sixes with two points, crumbled against Zimbabwe on Friday. Another loss and they can bid their World Cup ambitions goodbye.

William Porterfield’s men did well to restrict Zimbabwe to 211 and were confident at the half-way mark. However, their batting collapsed and they were bundled out for a poor 104.

The only consolation for Ireland is that the performance could be an aberration. The batting has been mostly reliable all competition. They’ve been bowled out only twice and two Irish batsmen are among the top 10 run-getters so far.

They would, however, appreciate more consistency, so the pressure doesn’t fall on one or two individuals. Addressing a tendency to lose wickets in clumps, they should look to build partnerships as well.

While their bowling attack, led by pacers Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin, has been doing well, Ireland were caught unawares by the slowness of the surface at Harare Sports Club, and could include another spinner in Simi Singh.

Scotland, meanwhile, have been driven by strong all-round performances. Five of their batsmen average above 30 for the tournament, while Safyaan Sharif with 12 wickets is second on the list of wicket-takers .— ICC

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