MARK ADAIR survived a final over scare before bowling Ireland to a nervy seven-run victory over Italy in Edinburgh yesterday as the Boys in Green made a positive start to their T20 World Cup qualifying campaign.

New white-ball skipper Paul Stirling had talked about avoiding banana skins when playing some of the European minnows and his 42-year-old former Middlesex colleague Gareth Berg nearly provided the first unwanted slip up.

Ireland had worked hard to defend a modest total of 158-8 and looked to be safe as Adair stepped up to bowl the last over at the Goldenacre ground with 20 runs needed and Berg facing.

The Italy skipper smashed 10 from the first three balls, though, reviving memories of Michael Bracewell’s blitz that stole a win for New Zealand from the same equation at Malahide last year, but Adair struck with his fourth ball and saw out the over.

Stirling, who lost his first toss, was bowled for two, Lorcan Tucker also had his timbers rearranged and after the departure of former skipper Andy Balbirnie for 26, Ireland were 46-3 towards the end of the eighth over.

Harry Tector, playing his 100th international, and Curtis Campher upped the rate in a fourth-wicket stand worth 76 - the former hitting two sixes in his 41 and the latter clearing the ropes three times for a top score of 61 from 39 balls.

Leg-spinner Ben White returned the best figures for Ireland with 2-22 from four overs while Josh Little also took two wickets, and Adair, no doubt breathing a sigh of relief, finished with 3-33.

A win is a win but Stirling will want a tighter display today when his side take on Denmark at The Grange, not least from his bowlers who delivered a total of nine wides.