Scotland defeat PNG by 52 runs
Scotland 288/9 (50 overs) Mommsen 94, Cross 49, Coleman 48 beat PNG 236ao (45.1 overs) Morea 57, Dai 50, Taylor 3/35, Haq 3/52 by 52 runs [Scorecard]
The 30th ICC World Cup Qualifying match took place between Scotland and Papa New Guinea at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval on Tuesday.
Scotland won the toss with Preston Mommsen electing to bowl first in bright sunshine. Calum MacLeod and Matthew Cross opened the Scottish innings and found a good batting wicket with a fast outfield.
The pair batted sensibly taking the score past 50 in the 9th over, with MacLeod finding the cover boundary with some solid shots off the back-foot.
Unfortunately, from a Scottish perspective, he was dismissed for 29 after a fantastic leg-side catch by wicket-keeper Jack Vare standing up to medium pacer Norman Vanua.
The same combination managed to claim the wicket of the in-form Matt Machan for 2, after he looked to cut, with the score on 70/2 in the 12th over.
Preston Mommsen joined Cross at the crease as the pair demonstrated some excellent running between the wickets to take the total past 100 in the 18th over.
Cross was bowled round his legs, looking to sweep a Mahuru Dai delivery for 49, to break a third wicket partnership worth 65 runs.
Mommsen took advantage of a dropped catch by Dai in the covers on 65 to put on a promising partnership with Freddie Coleman.
The Scotland captain eventually went six runs short of a deserved century, thanks to a brilliant leaping catch by Charles Amini at mid-wicket, with the score on 221/4 in the 40th over.
PNG fought back well in the final 10 overs of the innings, as the boundary was breached only four times to conclude the innings on 288/9.
After a positive start by PNG, putting on 30 runs in the first five overs in which they found the boundary with regularity, Siaka skied a catch to substitute fielder Gordon Goudie.
Assad Vala survived a caught behind appeal after the ball looked to come off the batsman’s gloves through to Cross.
Morea reached his 50 in spectacular fashion with a six down the ground, but he was then beaten by a flighted Majid Haq delivery which turned through the gate between bat and pad, leaving PNG on 94/2 in the 21st over.
Sharif held on to a sharp return catch from Assad Vala to send the batsman back to the pavilion for a well-made 33, as Scotland started to strangle their opponents innings with some disciplined bowling.
The pressure took its toll on the batsman as Geraint Jones was run-out by Berrington for 12 after being sent back by his partner.
Amini scored 7 before being bowled by Haq with PNG needing 150 with 16.4 overs to go.
Dai attempted to take the match by the scruff of the neck with a quick-fire 50 off just 29 balls punctuated by some big hitting. Although when he was well caught by Leask on the leg-side boundary the game was up for PNG.
Gavera was caught by Preston Mommsen, sealing victory with 4.5 overs remaining to give Scotland the win by 52 runs.
Joint interim Scotland Head Coach Craig Wright said after the match, “It was another hard earned victory. We batted well as a unit with Preston providing the backbone to allow us to setup a good total.
The bowlers squeezed PNG well to increase the asking rate and we continued to take wickets at crucial times.
We have said all along that we want to keep imposing ourselves on each match and bring a consistency performance. We have done that well over the past five games and the challenge is to do that against Kenya
Scotland stand-in Captains Preston Mommsen concluded, “Another solid team performance which sets us up perfectly for our final fixture in the Super Sixes. Both batting and bowling units are combining well and allowing us to apply pressure at key moments of the game.
We have worked extremely hard to get ourselves in and we will be giving nothing away come Sunday.”
A win against Kenya on Thursday would seal Scotland’s place in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.