Ireland  go into Friday morning’s game against Denmark looking to make it two wins out of two at the T20 World Cup qualifying tournament in Edinburgh.

It was by no means the perfect start on Thursday but as interim captain Paul Stirling said after the seven runs victory against Italy: “It feels good to win and we look to push on tomorrow.

He went on: Rusty was the first term to come to mind, a lack of T20 cricket  was evident (this was Ireland’s first game in the shortest format since March) but that is not an excuse. I felt we did as good as we could but there is a lot of improvement to be had.

“After losing the toss and getting put in, winning the game is a nice feeling but tomorrow at The Grange I think you can add on 20 runs more for a par score.”

In the end, 158 proved just enough at Goldenacre but memories of Ireland failing to close out tight matches resurfaced when the first two balls of the last over – with Italy needing 20 to win – both went to the boundary.

But Mark Adair, still the side’s most dependable bowler, bounced out Gareth Berg, the Italy captain only able to sky the fourth ball to short thirdman and Ireland’s first two points were in the bank.

The eagerly awaited first selection saw Andrew Balbirnie, in his first game after relinguishing the captaincy, return as opening batter to the exclusion of Ross Adair and Neil Rock was included as a specialist batsman at No 7.

Balbirnie hit four boundaries in his 26 – Rock was out second ball – but it was Harry Tector, in his 100th international, and Curtis Campher who produced  the only meaningful partnership of the innings, adding 76 in 53 balls.

Campher top scored with his third T20I half-century, from 36 balls - he finished with five fours and three sixes in his 61 - and Tector hit 41 from 31, with three fours and the only other two sixes.

The bowlers were “not on it from ball one” as Stirling admitted but they kept taking wickets at regular intervals with Ben White, who bowled four of the five overs of spin, particularly impressive.

It was the first time in four years that Ireland have won four games in a row – following their hat-trick of successes after their elimination from the 50-over qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe. 

In yesterday’s other games, Scotland (234-5) hammered Germany by 72 runs (DLS) and Jersey thumped Austria by eight wickets, chasing 105 in 9.2 overs

Scores: Ireland 158-8 (C Campher 61, H Tector 41, A Balbirnie 26, G Dockrell 12; G Berg 3-24, H Manenti 3-39) Italy 151- 9 (M Adair 3-33, B White 2-22, J Little 2-29, C Campher 1-19). Ireland won by 7 runs.