Preview - Scotland v Afghanistan

25 Feb

Q. Preston, obviously last time you played Afghanistan, you had a resounding success victory. What kind of confidence does that give you heading into tomorrow's game?
PRESTON MOMMSEN: We take a huge amount of confidence from that game in Abu Dhabi, huge psychological advantage, I think. We had a clear, clear strategy and tactic against them, and I'm pretty sure that we'll resort to the same formula tomorrow.

Q. And the conditions, are they going to play into your favor do you believe tomorrow?
PRESTON MOMMSEN: We're certainly hoping so. As it stands now, nice and chilly, something a bit foreign to the Afghanistan team, but this is something we're kind of used to, these sort of conditions, fresh wickets. If the ball moves around a little bit, I think that'll play into our favor.

Q. What have you made of the Afghanistan fast bowling trio? They were pretty impressive out here the other day. What did you take out of their performance?
PRESTON MOMMSEN: Yeah, we do have a lot of respect for their attack. We've played a lot of cricket against them in recent times, and we know that they do have good ammunition in their pace attack. We expect them to use their skills. Obviously it is a fresh wicket, so we'll have to play pretty tight cricket up front and negotiate that new ball, and hopefully get them back in their second and third spells and try and score then. But yeah, they are a very handy attack, and we'll respect that.

Q. They seem to be a team that, I guess, gets their tail up, they sort of play on passion a lot. I guess that's important for you guys to negate that early on?
PRESTON MOMMSEN: Yeah, definitely. That's something we've spoken about. If we get the opportunity to take a hold of the game, that's something we need to do. As you say, if you give them a sniff, then that sort of gets them going, gets their confidence up, and that's something that we have to make sure doesn't happen, and hopefully we can negate that from ball one.

Q. You've had a chance to play here. I guess you've learnt a little bit from what you expect from the conditions?
PRESTON MOMMSEN: Yes. Obviously ball started doing things from ball one in the last fixture we played here. I think the Sri Lanka‑Afghanistan game, the ball sort of did things early on, wasn't easy to get in. So we will probably expect the same thing being a fresh wicket tomorrow, and the weather as it is, we should expect the ball to do a little bit. But whatever we do first, we have to do it well.

Q. You've had great support from fans in the last two matches, particularly the first match here in Dunedin being a Scottish heritage town. Are you particularly excited to be back here in Dunedin considering the great support you had here?
PRESTON MOMMSEN: Yeah, it's very nice coming back here. We arrived yesterday, and again, very warm welcome at the hotel. We're hoping this would almost be like a home game for us with the support that we'll hopefully have tomorrow. We're used to playing against Afghanistan in the UAE where they have thousands and thousands of support, and that genuinely does make a difference for the way they play. Hopefully for once we'll have more support than they'll have, and that'll give us an extra edge.

Q. What positives have you taken from the last two performances, and do you think your approach will change given that you play Afghanistan on a more regular basis than the two opponents you've had so far?
PRESTON MOMMSEN: Yeah, those two were the first two World Cup games that this group of players have ever played in. Bar Majid Haq, no one else has played a World Cup match. It's been vital to get that experience under the belt and bank that. Obviously it's one thing talking about playing in a World Cup, but actually doing it, on the day there's so much that goes on, there's far more pressure. But I think we're better for those two games and the experience of that, and I think we've played good cricket in parts of both those games, just not for long enough. I think England, the way we came back with the ball in the second half of the first innings was a great credit to our bowlers, to only restrict them to 300. I thought that was a brilliant effort. And with the bat we've threatened at times, just, as I said, not being able to do those good things for long enough and get those bigger partnerships to have a proper crack at chasing those totals. We do take a lot from those first two games. In terms of our approach to Afghanistan, yes, I think you will see a slightly different approach in the way we play. Generally a Scotland‑Afghanistan game is quite feisty and there's quite a bit of passion on display, quite a bit of aggression, and I think tomorrow will be no different.

Q. And what would a win do for Scottish cricket tomorrow?
PRESTON MOMMSEN: A win would mean a lot, I think, to us as a team, to the squad, to the staff and to everyone back home. We've gathered a huge amount of support in these first two games. It's been quite incredible to know that there is so much support for Scottish cricket. We do feel really proud representing the country over here, so it would be brilliant to give something back and to get that first win, it's something that Scotland has never done, and tomorrow presents a brilliant opportunity to actually go out and achieve that.

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