By Mark Woods
BBC Sport at Stormont
Andrew White steered Ireland to an opening victory
Ireland beat Scotland by four wickets with one ball to spare in Belfast to underline their favourites tag to qualify for the 2009 World Twenty20.
The Saltires posted 117 with Neil McCallum (27) and Ryan Watson (24) the top scorers as Alex Cusack (4-21) and Andre Botha (3-18) took seven wickets.
The Irish always had wickets in hand as Andre Botha (38) pushed them forward.
However, it needed a late salvo from Andrew White to eventually steer the hosts to 121-6 and a Group A victory.
"It was hard work out there due to the pitch because it helped their spinners slow us up," admitted Botha.
"But we weren’t losing wickets which took some of the pressure off."
Watson was left to rue several missed opportunities, and the potential loss of Glenn Rogers who was taken to hospital with a calf injury, having taken 2-15.
"We missed a couple of run out chances at the end which proved costly. We bowled well enough to win a game of cricket but full credit to Andrew White who played some really tough shots under pressure."
Victory over Bermuda will now be enough to guarantee Porterfield’s men a place in Monday's semi-finals while Scotland must beat the islanders on Sunday morning to retain any hopes of progression.
The Saltires will bring in Warwickshire’s Navdeep Poonia to replace Kyle Coetzer, who is returning to Durham.
GROUP B: Netherlands (153-5) beat Kenya (134-9) by 19 runs
Essex all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate guided the Dutch to a surprise victory over top seeded Kenya in the tournament’s opening game.
After the Dutch were put into bat, opening pair Darron Reekers and Eric Szwarczynski put on 49 in partnership before ten Doeschate rattled off 56 from 45 balls before being caught by Kennedy Obuya.
Set 154 to win, the Kenyans toiled against the Dutch bowling despite a quickfire 37 from captain Steve Tikolo.
And ten Doeschate (3-27) and Edgar Schiferli (3-23) ably held their rivals chase in check.
Canada (99-6) beat the Netherlands (97) by four wickets
The Netherlands became the first side to advance to the semi-finals despite losing to Canada in a nervy encounter which was decided with three balls to go.
Fast bowler Harvir Baidwan bowled intelligently to grab 4-19 as the Dutch were removed for just 97.
Canada, headed by Sunil Dhaniram (26), almost made a mess of its chase when they slumped from 58-1 to 82-5 before easing to victory.
Kenya needs to beat Canada on Sunday by around 12 runs or with nine balls to spare to secure a place in the last four.