Another Highlanders win sets up 50 over title decider
The Highlanders stamped their authority on the 50 over version of the North Sea Pro Series with a five-wicket win over the Reivers in a sunny Dumfries which means the winner of their game against the Seafarers next week will take the title. The Highlanders will be looking to pick up their second trophy after claiming the T20 cup the day before with a huge victory, but this game wasn't as clear cut.
In-form Michael Leask again top-scored, and also proved his credentials with the ball with figures of 2-17 from ten overs as local boy Scott Beveridge smashed 62 not out for the Reivers.
The Highlanders won the toss and put the Reivers in to bat with a view to knocking off a low total quickly. The hosts put emphasis on youth in the openers Young and English who patiently set about the bowling attack. When Young was dismissed for a steady 19, Con de Lange joined at number three who is arguably the form batsmen for the Reivers. When English fell for a well-made 37, de Lange looked stranded at the other end as the middle order of Berrington, Iqbal and Sharif collapsed around him, the latter going to an impressive direct run-out from Gordon Goudie.
Scott Beveridge set about the counter-attack as he raced to his half-century and together with Neil Smith who hit 32 not out from 14 balls accumulated vital runs in the last few overs to post a total of 239/7. Both spinners Watt and Leask were key for the Highlanders, tying down the run-rate in the middle overs with two wickets each.
After the previous days batting performance many wouldn't have given the Reivers a chance to defend their total, as the Highlanders top order all contributed. When skipper Wallace fell for just two runs to leave the score on 120/4 there was hope, and for the first time in the game the Reivers sensed a shot at victory.
However a solid partnership between Leask and Matthew Parker of exactly 100 runs brought the game home for the visitors. Leask was caught 20 runs short of the target, and Gordon Goudie came in to finish things off as Parker finished on an impressive 57 not out.
The win for the Highlanders sets up the decider next week at Grange, where they will have the chance to add the 50 over trophy to their cabinet, and take a clean sweep of the North Sea Pro Series.