|Scorecard:||Ireland v Scotland|
|Player:||NFI McCallum, WTS Porterfield|
|Event:||ICC World Cup Qualifier 2008/09|
DateLine: 2nd April 2009
A superb century from captain William Porterfield ensured Ireland laid down a marker on the first day of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier as his team easily overcame the challenge of its traditional rival Scotland at Benoni. Porterfield's hundred came off just 87 balls and included 12 fours and three sixes as Ireland chased down Scotland's under-par score of 232 with seven wickets and 12.2 overs to spare.
Opening the batting, the 24-year-old smashed the ball to all parts almost from the off. In the first over of the innings he hit Dewald Nel for a four through the covers and then a six over midwicket - the first six of his ODI career - letting the Scots know his intentions straight away. Porterfield was ably assisted, first by Gary Wilson and then by Eoin Morgan, whose contribution of 61 (off 56 balls) from a partnership of 131 helped to flatten any lingering hope that the defending champion Scotland had of taking the points.
Earlier, having lost the toss, Scotland got off to a pretty dismal start losing four wickets with just 24 runs on the board with Ireland's openers Peter Connell (2-51) and Boyd Rankin (2-27) making their presence felt. Only Neil McCallum stood firm against the Irish onslaught. Just as he did in Nairobi at the ICC World Cricket League Division 1 in 2007, McCallum scored a magnificent century, ending on 121 not out as his team-mates seemed unable to stay with him long enough to bring Scotland to a truly competitive total on what was a good batting track at Willowmoore Park.
Unlike that day in Kenya, however, McCallum's hundred did not win the game for his side as this time Ireland's batsmen were ready to meet the challenge. Scotland must now brace itself for a vital match against Namibia at LC de Villiers Oval, Pretoria.