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My Favourite Match: Matthew Cross

In the latest of a new series, Scotland men’s wicketkeeper/batsman Matthew Cross names the World Cup qualifier with Kenya back in 2014 as his favourite match for the national side.

Cricket Scotland @CricketScotland
April 30, 2020 7 months
My Favourite Match: Matthew Cross

Having not qualified for a 50-over World Cup since 2007, the 2014 qualifying event in New Zealand for the showpiece tournament was a massive one for Scotland.

They headed to the southern hemisphere early that year and, in the qualifiers, were placed in Pool A with Hong Kong, the UAE, Canada and Nepal.

Despite a superb century from skipper Preston Mommsen, the Scots lost their opener to Hong Kong by 17 runs in Queenstown, 263-7 playing 246.

The Scots did not panic though and got back on the horse with a 90 run victory over Nepal three days later, Freddie Coleman (64 not out) and Iain Wardlaw (3-32) leading the way.

Next up in Queenstown were the UAE and Calum MacLeod hit 113 from just 62 balls as the Scots made 265-6 batting first. Wardlaw again took three wickets as Mommsen’s men won by 52 runs.

MacLeod’s superb batting continued with 175 in a thumping 171 run victory over Canada in Christchurch which meant Scotland topped the group and went through to the Super Six stage.

With two spots for the World Cup up for grabs the Super Six phase – also featuring the UAE and Hong Kong from Scotland’s group and Papua New Guinea, Kenya and Namibia – was always going to be tense.

Results from the group stages were taken forward meaning the Scots began with a win and a loss under their belts and could not afford any more slip ups.

Matt Machan and Safyaan Sharif helped Scotland open up with a 21 run win over Namibia and 94 from Mommsen led the way in a follow-up 52 run triumph over Papua New Guinea.

That set up the big one with Kenya at the famous Hagley Oval in Christchurch on January 30.

“We had to beat Kenya to qualify for the World Cup,” Cross, then just 21 and in the early stages of his ODI career, recounts.

“We lost the toss on a used wicket and Kenya chose to bat. 

“They batted well and got 260 all out which was a decent score as the wicket was turning.”

Rob Taylor, Wardlaw, Safyaan Sharif Majid Haq and Machan took wickets while some good fielding led to three run outs, but 89 from 101 balls from Kenyan opener Alex Obanda gave his side a good platform at the halfway stage of the contest.

“There was obviously was a lot of pressure on us to chase our target down and their fielders reminded us of that a lot,” Cross, the Aberdonian who is now 27 opened with MacLeod, stated.

“I remember we had an okay start and then I had a decent partnership with Preston that got us back on track. Then we had a bit of a collapse – there was a run out in there and it was all a bit chaotic. 

“Most of the guys who were out couldn’t watch. However, Rob Taylor, who hadn’t had the best tournament with the bat, pulled us out with a gem of a knock to take us home with a few balls to spare.

“The emotions where all over the place that day and the feeling at the end was pure relief. We really scrapped as a team in that one. 

“As we had lost are first game of the tournament we basically had to win every game after that – and we did!” 

Cross made 55 from 61 balls with player of the match Mommsen hitting 78 from 97 balls while Taylor’s knock really was needed at the time.

The all-rounder made 46 from just 37 balls batting number eight and was supported by Sharif (10 not out from 11 balls) as they got home with three balls to spare to win by three wickets.

In the final Mommsen’s amazing tournament ended with 139 not out in Lincoln to defeat the UAE by 41 runs and send themselves into a World Cup pool the following year in Australia and New Zealand with both host nations, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, England and Afghanistan.

Scotland v Kenya, January 30, 2014 at Hagley Oval, Christchurch: Scotland  261-7 (PL Mommsen 78, MH Cross 55, RML Taylor 46*; TM Odoyo 3-53) beat Kenya 260 all out (AA Obanda 89, RR Patel 38; SM Sharif 2-65) by three wickets

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