FREYA SARGENT hit the stumps twice with successive balls in Spain yesterday to save Ireland from the potential embarrassment of a second one-day international defeat by the part-timers of Scotland.

The off-spinner’s timely intervention spurred the Girls in Green to a 79-run victory which levelled the Celtic Challenge at 1-1 and set up a series decider tomorrow.

Orla Prendergast, Amy Hunter and Leah Paul all scored half-centuries in a much-improved Ireland batting display that built smoothly on a solid start and posted a formidable 270/6 at the Desert Springs complex.

Paul dominated an opening stand of 60 with Gaby Lewis, timing the ball beautifully through the off side for the best of her seven boundaries, and then added another 70 with Hunter before she was caught and bowled for 58 from 84 balls.

Hunter was lbw for a classy 56, Prendergast hit one of Ireland’s two sixes in her equally impressive 64 and Rebecca Stokell lifted the other as she added impetus down the finishing straight with 19 from nine balls.

But the Scotland chase began as briskly as the breeze that whipped across the exposed ground and at 143/3 in the 26th over there were a few worried faces in the Irish camp.

The game turned dramatically in two balls, though, as Sargent spun one past Kathryn Bryce to bowl the Scotland captain for 67 - her second half-century in two innings - and then struck wood again next ball.

Ava Canning helped tidy up the weak Scotland tail to return best figures of 4-36, and there were two victims apiece for Cara Murray and the ever-reliable Arlene Kelly as the chase ended on 191.