Scotland maintained their winning record in the Cricket World Cup League 2 in Oman as they beat Papua New Guinea by four wickets in a closely fought match, chasing down the winning runs with seven balls to spare.
Coming straight off the back of a hard-fought win over hosts Oman on Tuesday, the team had to battle to get past the PNG side that they beat on Saturday, but a match-winning innings from Michael Leask, whose 51 not out proved crucial as his side pursued a challenging target of 227.
Scotland Head Coach Shane Burger was relieved to see the team take a third consecutive win: “A good team always finds a a way to win even when they don’t particularly play well. I thought we were a little bit off the mark today in certain areas. Our discipline could potentially have cost us that game, but what brought us home was character, fight and heart which is what this team keeps showing more and more every game.
“Credit to PNG for the way they played, I thought they were superb and put us under pressure on many occasions, but unfortunately for them they came up a bit short. It was an amazing all-round display from Michael Leask, a coming-of-age knock, and we’re incredibly proud of him, assisted by Kyle Coetzer who really anchored the innings. We’re incredibly happy and now have a couple of days off before the Oman game on Saturday.”
PNG won the toss and batted first and Scotland made quick work of the top order batters, reducing them to 97/6 midway through the innings as Leask also starred with the ball, taking 3 for 19. But PNG’s lower order dug in and reached 226/8 at the end of 50 overs, providing the Scots with a significant total to overhaul.
Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer led the way in the reply scoring 81 before his dismissal in the 35th over. But it was Leask whose innings proved crucial, displaying both control and big hitting to see Scotland home with an over to spare as he struck a six off the final ball of his innings for an unbeaten half century.
Coetzer was full of praise for his team mate, who was also named player of the match: “We all know the powers that Michael Leask has and he just controlled his innings today. We know he has the power to clear the ropes, but his decision making today was key to his performance with the bat. And he was outstanding with the ball and in the field as well. It was certainly his day and hopefully there will be many more of those to come.
“If we had known that we’d be offered three wins out of three at the start of the tour we’d have taken it. We’ve had two tough games on the bounce, so it’s nice to get the win today. Personally it’s always nice to get a few runs, although I put the guys under a little bit of pressure getting out when I did, but it’s good to see the depth that we have. It was great to get over the line while not playing as well as we know we can. Credit to PNG they showed extreme fight and character.”
Scotland play their final CWCL2 match of this series against Oman on Saturday starting at 11.30am UK time.