Amy Hunter stroked a top quality 68 in Spain yesterday but the teenager’s career-best T20 international score was in vain as Scotland scampered to an eight-wicket victory to claim a share of the two-match series at Desert Springs.
Opener Hunter watched a succession of top order partners come and go, with only skipper Laura Delany offering prolonged support in a third-wicket partnership of 35 before she was bowled for 12 from 22 balls.
Hunter went to her first T20i half-century with her eighth four and deployed the scoop shot to good effect, adding much-needed momentum towards the end of the innings.
But when she was bowled at the start of the final over, having faced 54 balls and hit 10 boundaries, Ireland had to settle for 117/7, a total that looked about a dozen short of par, especially in the absence of reliable seamer Arlene Kelly.
Alana Dalzell again impressed at start of the Scotland reply, taking 1/19, and Ava Canning also picked up an early wicket but the Bryce sisters, Kathryn and Sarah, who gave Ireland problems all week, had the final say with an unbroken partnership of 111.
Ireland used eight bowlers, including the much-improved Louise Little, but without Kelly’s overs and with the skipper clearly weary from the effects of playing five games in eight days, Scotland were able to claim their win from the first ball of the final over.
A 3-2 overall victory in the Celtic Challenge, after taking the ODI series 2-1, is less than Delany and coach Ed Joyce would have hoped for not least because there is a far bigger gulf between the sides than that scoreline suggests.