Ross Lawson Blog - Defeated, but not disgraced

18 Feb

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Ross Lawson looks back on Scotland’s opening fixture of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, as the Saltires succumbed to a three-wicket defeat to co-hosts New Zealand.

Scotland may have suffered defeat in their opening World Cup 2015 encounter, but there are plenty of reasons to remain optimistic ahead of Sunday night’s encounter with the old enemy, England.

A thumping defeat over Ireland and a narrow loss to the West Indies in the warm-up games had led to a feeling of optimism that this would be the tournament that Scotland could banish the pain of tournaments past, gaining their first World Cup victory in the process.

To have gained that in their opening fixture would have been nothing short of a monumental effort. New Zealand, as well as playing on their home ground, have been earmarked to go far in this competition, with talk of the BlackCaps one of the favourites to lift the trophy come March 29.

In Tim Southee and Trent Boult, the Kiwis arguably boast the best new ball pairing in the tournament, a theory they demonstrated in reducing the Scots to 12 for four. Calum MacLeod, Hamish Gardiner and Preston Mommsen will all be as disappointed as anyone to fall to first-ball ducks.

In years gone by, a start like that could have seen Scotland bundled out for a score well below three-figures, and an unwanted place in the records book to boot, but the Saltires have since developed a determined mentality, and the talent to go alongside it. Matt Machan is a shining example of this prowess. Playing for English county side Sussex, the 24-year old has developed his game to average more than 30 in first-class and List-A cricket, and one of Scotland’s most important players.

Machan was not alone in his recovering hand, however, with Richie Berrington joining him in making a half-century, with the two putting on 97 together for the fifth wicket. There is fight in the Tartan after all.

Whilst another collapse followed, the completed score of 142, whilst not being overly competitive, was a fair effort given what could have been.

The fightback was not completed there, however. In Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson, New Zealand boast three of the top cricketers in the world game, but the Scotland attack kept them quiet as no Kiwi batsman scored more than Williamson’s 38. The chase was ultimately completed in half the allocated overs, but with Iain Wardlaw and Josh Davey sharing six wickets between them, the bowling will certainly be key to any successes later in the tournament.

Despite the result, giving New Zealand a mighty scare is surely something that will boost the mood of the Scottish camp, not to mention their ability to recover from an almost impossible situation. Should the top order find their form, there’s no reason why the Scots can’t give England a fright in their next encounter. 

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