Scotland defeat Thailand and Canada
After the conclusion of the ECB County Championship programme the squad returned to Edinburgh in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
After a couple of hours sleep the team met at 6.30am at Edinburgh Airport to catch the short flight to Dublin where they were to play Canada and Thailand in four T20 matches ahead of the ICC T20 Global Qualifying event.
Scotland v Canada 18/7/13
Captain Abbi Aitken won the toss and had no hesitation in opting to bat first, a decision that proved to be fully justified, although things didn’t start to well when Rachel Scholes was back in the pavilion early on with the score on 2.
A quick-fire partnership of 68 in only 6 overs between Fi Urquhart and Liz Priddle put the bowlers under real pressure and the Scots continued to hit the bad balls for 4. Urquhart was out for a 21 ball 43, while the impressive Priddle brought up her maiden 50 in a Scotland shirt in only 43 balls.
The middle and lower order continued to strike the ball to the boundary and run anything that was on offer and concluded their innings on a very respectable 168-7.
In reply, the Scotland bowlers had to wait until the 12th over to get the breakthrough when Aitken had the opener ran out with the score on 70. With the run rate climbing steadily the Canadian batters never really took on the challenge to chase the total and the Scotland bowlers had to be content with bowling dot balls without much success.
Eventually the Canadian innings finished on 106-3, with Rachel Scholes and Ollie Rae each picking up a wicket.
Scotland v Thailand 18/7/13
In the second fixture of the day captain Abbi Aitken lost the toss and Scotland was asked to field first against an enthusiastic Thailand team, who had already beaten Canada earlier in the day.
Nadia Wheeler and Aitken took the new ball for Scotland and didn’t have to wait long for the breakthrough - Fi Urquhart taking a sharp catch at short cover off the bowling of Aitken, to have Thailand under early pressure with the score on 13/1.
A sharp piece of fielding and a direct hit by Lynne Dickson gave Scotland their second wicket of the match leaving Thailand on 34-2 in the 8th over.
Aitken went on to pick up two further wickets (3-24), while Sam Haggo chipped in with a wicket and another run out, this time by Kathryn White, saw Thailand finish on 116/6 after their 20 overs.
A challenging total was set and the Scotland batters knew they would have to work hard to chase down. The Scotland girls found themselves in a little bit of trouble at 54/4, but a partnership of 60 between the experienced duo of Kathryn White (28) and Kari Anderson (25*) got the team comfortably over the line with 5 overs to spare.
Scotland v Canada 19/7/13 [Scorecard]
A change of venue for the second day of meant that the batters and bowlers had to adapt their game to a pitch that was slightly trickier than the day before.
Skipper Aitken won the toss and opted to bat first and a new opening combination of Urquhart and Ollie Rae were tasked with getting the girls off to a solid start. With 17 runs on the board Rae was dismissed for 6, bringing White to the crease. A quick-fire partnership of 60 increased the run rate but when White (35) and Urquhart (47) fell in quick succession the new batters found the going tough. Scotland finally ended their innings on 130-6.
All the Scotland bowlers bowled with great discipline, and the fielding was as sharp as it had been at the start of the week.
Aitken got the early breakthrough leaving Canada on 24/1 and regular wickets meant keeping up with the run rate was always going to be a challenge. Kirstie Gordon was economical only going for 9 runs and picking up 1 wicket from her 4 overs. Kathryn White was the main destroyer in-chief picking up 3-25. Priddle, Haggo and Anderson all picked up wickets to restrict Canada to 113-9 after their 20 overs and give Scotland another win – this time by 17 runs.
Scotland v Thailand 19/7/13 [Scorecard]
Batting first, Scotland found the going extremely tough against the accurate bowling of Thailand. Only 3 Scotland batters made it to double figures, Priddle (14), Anderson (19) and Lorna Jack (15*) in the under-par score of 95/8.
The Scotland girls knew that bowling dot balls and picking up wickets was the only way they were going to make it 4 wins from 4, and thankfully for them the bowlers and fielders didn’t disappoint.
White bowled her 4 overs for a miserly 4 runs picking up 2 wickets in the process and when Kirstie Gordon picked up 3/14 the pressure was well and truly on the Thailand batters.
The fielding was exceptional and three run outs and an outstanding one handed catch by Aitken ensured that the Scotland girls recorded what appeared to be an unlikely victory by 15 runs.
After a tough seven games in six days it was time for coach Kari Carswell and captain Abbi Aitken to share their reflections:
Coach Kari Carswell stated “It’s been great having the girls together for such a long time and playing so many matches. It has been incredibly tough - three 50 over games followed by the four T20s is a lot of cricket, but I think we have come out the other side really well.
To win six games out of seven is a great achievement and all the girls should be immensely proud of what they have achieved this week.
The pleasing thing for me is that we have seen some incredible individual performances, quite a few girls have scored their first 50s, while others have been scoring more runs more consistently.
We have a good mix of youth and experience now. However, let’s not get carried away. We need to keep on improving, we are still a little short of where I want us to be as a group but the girls are so committed to getting better it makes coaching them enjoyable! It will be interesting and exciting to sit down at the end of season and compare this season to last, and work out plans for our winter training.
Having Steve [Paige] on board as well helps the girls massively. He has so much knowledge to pass on and the girls have really bought in to the way we now analyse the games and look to improve”.
A pleased Abbi Aitken concluded the tour by adding, “The squad are delighted with how the week has gone. It’s been tough mentally and physically but we have shown we can play well when under pressure and the girls have worked extremely hard all week to keep a high level of performance.
On behalf of all the girls we want to thank everyone who has supported us this season, it certainly doesn’t go unnoticed and when we are away the messages of support certainly keep us going.
Some of the performances this week have been brilliant and it makes my job as captain so much easier! Our season isn’t quite finished yet as we still have a regional game to go and a couple of friendlies then we will be starting our indoor training again. It’s an exciting time for the game in Scotland and we are all desperate to keep on improving”.