On the day that he earned his 100th cap for his country, Mark Watt held his nerve with the bat to get Scotland’s men over the line in their ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 match with Oman in Dubai on Friday – meaning the squad finished the tour with four wins from four.
Before the trip to the UAE, interim head coach Craig Wright and captain Kyle Coetzer asked their charges to build on the momentum from the T20 World Cup last year.
And over the last couple of weeks the players have done just that in the 50-over-a-side format of the game with two wins over PNG and two wins over Oman.
In the three previous games Scotland had batted first, but here they had to chase in the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Needing 226 to win there were a few wobbles in the second half here for sure, but 37 not out from 25-year-old Watt batting at number eight got the side home by two wickets.
He hit a four off the second last ball of the match off Bilal Khan to spark celebrations and then said: “I am buzzing personally to play my part in this gamev and also represent Scotland 100 times, but more importantly I am buzzing for the squad.
“It was as bit of a mad game this one and certainly a mad ending.
“We know that we bat all the way down to number 11 and the plan was just to take the game as deep as possible and put Oman’s bowlers and fielders under pressure.
“In the end we got over the line and this last few weeks really has been a squad effort which we can now build on into the rest of a busy 2022.
“Before this trip guys were travelling from lots of different places to train back home, but it all paid off on this tour, it has been an excellent couple of weeks for us.
“To go from training indoors to playing international matches against quality opposition in this heat is tough, so to come away with four wins is very pleasing.”
Scotland handed Chris McBride, the Dumfries-reared batting all-rounder, a debut in this game in place of Calum MacLeod while Adrian Neill came in for Gavin Main.
Oman were indebted to 81 from opener Kashyap Prajapati and 53 not out from skipper Mohammad Nadeem to get them up and over 200 in the first half in the face of some good Scots bowling and fielding.
Nadeem Khushi, their wicketkeeper, also hit 29 down the order as they posted 225-7 from 50 over.
Spinner Watt took 1-38 off his 10 overs including two maidens while Michael Leask for on form to claim 3-35 from his 10 overs including one maiden.
Seamer Neill’s good tour finished with 2-41 while Safyaan Sharif took one wicket and Hamza Tahir was hard to get away in a spell of 0-32 in 10 overs.
When Coetzer and McBride fell early in Scotland’s reply, the team were 7-2 and that became 21-3 when Matthew Cross, on his 150th appearance, followed them back to the pavilion.
A 98 run partnership for the fourth wicket followed between Richie Berrington and George Munsey.
They made 73 and 43 respectively, but as wickets started to fall again, Scotland still needed 19 runs to win off the last two overs.
Berrington fell off the first ball of the 49th over to put them on 207-7, but Watt and Neill came together and managed to get seven runs off the next five balls.
That still left 12 needed off the last over, but when Watt hit the first ball for four there was hope.
He then scored a two and a one before Neill scampered a bye.
That meant four was needed from two balls and Watt managed to do it with one shot to kick start 2022 cricketing-wise in style.
Team that played Oman: Kyle Coetzer (C), Matthew Cross, Chris McBride, Richie Berrington, George Munsey, Dylan Budge, Michael Leask, Mark Watt, Safyaan Sharif, Adrian Neill, Hamza Tahir.