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Murtagh rescues Ireland in thriller

Tim Murtagh was Ireland’s unlikely batting hero as Scotland’s hopes of gaining automatic qualification for the 2015 World Cup ended with a dramatic one-wicket defeat in Belfast.

Ireland, who have already booked their place in Australia and New Zealand, looked to have blown their chance of victory when slumping from 95 without loss to 180 for eight in pursuit of 224.

The final over began with Ireland’s final pair requiring a further 12 runs and that target became nine from three before Murtagh thumped Rob Taylor for six and four to seal victory with a ball to spare.

Murtagh finished unbeaten on 23 from 19 balls, his highest ODI score, while Max Sorensen contributed a valuable 31 from number nine.

Will Porterfield’s near run-a-ball 62 had underpinned Ireland’s good start, but Majid Haq then struck thrice in quick succession to spark a Scotland fightback.

Defeat was harsh on Scotland captain Preston Mommsen, who struck 91 not out after winning the toss to lift his side to 223 for nine.

George Dockrell claimed 4-24 for Ireland from 10 economical overs.

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