Scotland defeat Hong Kong in final WT20 match

13 Mar

Scotland secured an historic first ever victory at the ICC World T20 over Hong Kong by eight wickets in a rain-reduced game in Nagpur.

Needing 76 from 10 overs after a revised Duck-worth-Lewis calculation, the Saltires chased down the target with two overs remaining, finishing on 78 for 2. 

Matt Machan took 2-26 with the ball and blasted 15 not out from just four balls earning him the Man-of-the-Match award. Machan, who hit the winning runs with a massive six, ignited scenes of celebration as a jubilant Scotland put an end to their World Cup drought. 

All four top-order batsmen played their part in the win. Matt Cross top scored with 22 from nine balls with two sixes and a four. Opener Kyle Coetzer, undefeated on 20, set the tone with George Munsey (19 off 11 balls) as Hong Kong’s bowlers were taken apart. 

Speaking afterwards a delighted Machan said: “It’s our first win at a World Cup - although it’s against another Associate - we’ve got the monkey off our back and all the boys are very, very happy. 

“It’s always tricky with Duck-worth-Lewis. We were happy to restrict them to 120-odd - we got the job done and to finish it with two overs to go was brilliant. 

“Going back to the last 50-over World Cup we probably should have won two or three games but we let ourselves down.

“We haven’t played our best cricket this week but it’s been a massive learning curve.”

Machan was the pick of the bowlers despite conceding 14 runs of his last over (which is no disgrace because it was the 19th over). Mark Watt (1-21) and Con De Lange (1-19) were excellent. 

All three spinners bowled with control and were economical, which went a long way to restrict the opposition to a low target on a pitch Afghanistan had, in the game before, racked up 186 for six. 

Scotland’s chase was delayed after a second rain interruption as the innings was about to get underway. When the covers eventually did come off, the Saltires 

Earlier Hong Kong scored - a below par - 127 for seven. Middle-order batsman Mark Chapman top scored with 40 off 41 balls, but the rest struggled. Some big-hitting at the death saw 28 runs scored off the last two overs.

Scotland - playing in an their alternative pink shirt - made three changes to the team from the previous match. Out went Michael Leask, Alisdair Evans and Safyaan Sharif and in, Gavin Main, Con de Lange and Rob Taylor. 

For the third match in a row the opposition won the toss and elected to bat. Chasing has been a struggle at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium and Preston Mommsen said he would also have batted first. 

As was the case against Zimbabwe the bowlers well, restricting Hong Kong to 32 for two in the powerplay. First to go in the second over was Ryan Campbell, caught at third man by Josh Davey off Main’s first delivery of the tournament. 

In strode the dangerous Baber Hayat, who immediately showed his intent as he hit the young fast bowler for three boundaries in four balls. 

Main should have had Hayat caught behind but umpire Ian Gould somehow did not raise the finger. A strange decision - the batsman began walking immediately after the edge, even taking off his glove off.

Jaimie Atkinson followed when Davey dismissed the opener with smart caught-and-bowled, deceiving the opener with a slower ball that came off the splice. 

Hayat’s cameo was soon over when he picked out substitute fielder Calum MacLeod, on the deep square-leg boundary off De Lange. 

Hong Kong were in trouble at 33 for three at this stage and needed a partnership. Chapman and Anshuman Rath duly obliged. The pair put on a run-a-ball 49 run fourth-wicket stand as they set about rebuilding their team’s innings. 

The partnership ended when Rath was stumped by Cross off Machan for 21. Machan almost had Tanwir Afzal out the next ball.

With a rush of blood to the head, Afzal ran down the wicket and missed the ball with a wild hack. However, the keeper fumbled the ball and a straight forward stumping chance was grassed.

The miss proved irrelevant. Attempting a suicide single and some smart fielding at cover by Main, the opposition captain ran himself out. 

The 21-year-old throwing himself to his left, collected the ball and whipped it into the hands of his wicketkeeper who affected the run-out. 

Wickets fell quickly and 82 for three had become 98 for six when Chapman’s innings came to an end. Needing to increase the tempo Chapman top edged Watt and was caught by Coetzer. 

Nizakat Khan (17 from 10) however, did manage to strike a couple of lusty blows . He struck consecutive sixes off Machan, but going for a third, he only managed to pick out Main on the ropes with the score Nelson for seven. 

Scotland would only need to go at 7.6 runs per over to win and they made light work of the target. The opening pair got the ball rolling. 

Munsey did what he does best as he gave the team the fast start they needed. The 23-year-old was eventually caught at square-leg, after a quick-fire 19 off 11 deliveries, hitting four boundaries. 

Cross struck some lusty blows but was caught when he hit a short ball to Nizakat Khan. The damage had been done though and Scotland were racing along. Coetzer and Machan made the game safe. 

Scotland required 20 runs from the last four overs and were ahead of Duckworth-Lewis. Machan was not hanging around. When he dispatched Nadeem Ahmed over cow-corner for six the dressing-room erupted with scenes of joy and euphoria. 

Speaking afterwards Mommsen described the win as “bittersweet”, “momentous” and “important”. “It’s a very good feeling,” he said with a broad smile.

“We’ve crossed the line for the first time and that’s a very important moment for Scottish cricket. We’ll take a huge amount from today - the monkey off the back - and it’s time to look forward. 

“It’s a huge step forward for us. Hopefully we’ve gained some more followers through this campaign.

 “Regrettably, we are not going further in this tournament or having another month on TV - which is invaluable - to gain more support back home. 

“Scottish cricket is in a good position and we’ve got a very good squad. Unfortunately we couldn’t quite deliver, but we’ve shown glimpses of what we are capable of.

“We’ll keep fighting over the next 12 to 24 months [to improve]. We’ll keep fighting! We are hungry: that’s one thing we are.”

 

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