Ireland got off to a winning start in their warm up game with fellow European qualifiers Scotland in Sri Lanka yesterday. Batting first the Scots scored 252 for 7 in their 50 overs, with their top 5 batsmen all getting decent starts. Captain Kasim Farid top scored, hitting 55 not out at nearly a run a ball, which included 7 fours and a six, on the fast running Bloomfield outfield.

Boundaries comprised exactly half of their total, with 24 fours and 5 sixes in total. The Irish bowlers were made to work for their wickets in very hot and humid conditions. Neil Gill impressed, and picked up the wickets of the two openers, Goudie for 18, and Hislop for 20. Richie Berrington took 93 balls for his 33, while Robert Cannon survived a confident appeal for lbw first ball, and progressed to 46, before being dismissed by the Middlesex combination of Andrew Poynter and Eoin Morgan, who took a diving catch to his left.

Spin was expected to feature prominently, but Greg Thompson had an off day, conceding an incredible 17 wides in his 10 over spell. Gary Kidd settled down after a shaky start, and picked up two wickets. Poynter was the most successful, bowling a tight line and getting just enough spin. Of the other bowlers used, both Niall McDarby and Richard Keaveney were fairly economical without ever really threatening to take wickets. The tactic of Morgan opening the bowling didn't pay off, as he struggled with the new white ball to find his line, conceding 7 wides.

Mehmood struck 24 off just 14 balls, and brought Scotland past the 250 mark, what many considered a par total.

The way Gareth McKee and Fintan McAllister started but, it seemed as if Ireland would have a fairly comfortable day. They were helped early on by Scotland also conceding far too many extras, with Sean Weeraratna and Gordon Goudie mixing up some really useful deliveries, with a wayward line. It has to be said that both Irish openers did play and miss a few times in that opening spell.

McKee soon got into his stride and hit 10 fours and 2 sixes in his 65, the openers adding 132, before a tired McKee was well caught in the deep. Morgan was trapped lbw for just a single, but Gary Wilson looked very assured in making 45, while McAllister took the anchor role, and made 58 in 84 balls.

From 210 for 3, Ireland then suffered a dramatic collapse, being 240 for 8, as Sean Weeraratna picked up 3 wickets, and Routray 2. It took a very stylish and hard hit 28 not out from Richard Stirling to see a nervous Ireland past the winning post, by striking the 1st ball of the 50th over for 4.

A good competitive workout for both teams, which offered some much needed match practice for the Irish especially. They take on Uganda today in their second practice game, then face Zimbabwe on Sunday in the opening group D tie.