Scotland book WT20 Final spot after beating Hong Kong
Hong Kong 116 (19.3 overs) Khan 31, Chapman 24, Taylor 3/17, Evans 3/17, Sharif 3/29 lost to Scotland 117/5 (12.2 overs) Cross 29, Coetzer 33, Munsey 25* by 5 wickets [Scorecard]
Scotland booked their place in the final of the ICC World T20 Qualifier by defeating Hong Kong at Malahide by five wickets with 46 balls to spare, after bowling them out for 116.
A 52-run second-wicket stand between Kyle Coetzer (33) and Matt Cross (39), was the cornerstone of the chase, but the match was set-up by the bowlers.
A wobble in the middle overs saw Scotland lose three wickets for 15 runs, but Preston Mommsen (10) and George Munsey’s (25 not out) 28-run fifth-wicket partnership made the game safe.
This was as good a collective-bowling display by Scotland in the tournament. Ali Evans (3-17), Safyaan Sharif (3-29) and Rob Taylor (3-17) shared the wickets, using a mixture of short and slower balls that the opposition had no answer for.
Evans four overs included an incredible 17 dot balls as he went to the top of the qualifier bowling charts with 14 wickets from seven games at 6.25 runs an over - immense for this format.
“T20 is one of those formats where you’ve got to stick to your plan and accept that one of the bowlers will get the wickets,” said Man-of-the-Match Taylor.
“We knew if we stuck to our plan then we would get a bit out of the wicket and we assessed the conditions early on.”
He added: “It was the first wicket that we’ve come across in the tournament that had a bit of bounce in it and we felt Hong Kong would be more happy with the ball pitched up, so the plan was to go back of a length.
“Overall I think it’s a good performance from everyone. The bowling unit stuck to the plans and to restrict Hong Kong to 116 was a really good effort.”
Scotland remained unchanged, but had not played since their win over Oman last Saturday. Skipper Mommsen won the toss and inserted Hong Kong on a greenish deck.
Evans struck in his opening two overs; first Jamie Atkinson miss-timed a pull and was caught at mid-on by Josh Davey for a duck. Nizakat Khan followed, caught behind by Matt Cross in what was Scotland’s first wicket-maiden over of the tournament.
Safyaan Sharif then had Irfan Ahmed caught by Taylor playing across the line. All the Scots’ bowlers were getting some early swing and seam movement, which accounted for Hong Kong’s top order.
The Falkland skipper claimed his second when Mark Chapman (24) played around a full delivery.
Mommsen rotated his bowlers well again, restricting Hong Kong to 19 runs from six overs after the powerplay (42-3). With the runs drying up, wickets fell.
Taylor struck a double blow; Baber Hayat was caught behind and Anshuman Rath was trapped LBW two balls later. HK had gone from 21-1 to 61-6 in the space of 62 balls.
Evans picked up his third when Taylor caught Tanwir Afzal in the deep. The Carlton man could not stay out of the game, catching Aizaz Khan (31) at backward point, attempting to cut a slower-ball bouncer off Sharif.
Taylor bowled Haseeb Amjad and Davey had Nadeem Ahmed caught at short fine-leg, leaving Scotland 117 to win.
Coetzer wasn’t hanging around, taking 16 runs off the opening over of the innings and 12 off Amjad in the fourth, dealing predominantly in boundaries as he passed 200 runs in the competition.
When Callum MacLeod departed for naught, Cross joined Coetzer - the fifty partnership came from 23 balls.
The 22-year-old’s innings was over when he was caught at cover. The Scots took 68 off the powerplay; Coetzer, Richie Berrington (3) and Mommsen all fell, but the game was won.
When asked about the significance of possibly winning the competition Taylor said: “It would be massive. It’s a big tournament; we’ve done the first stage of qualifying for the World Cup, but to come away with the trophy would be immense and another step in the plan to get ourselves up the rankings.”