Scotland edge closer to T20 World Cup after Italy win
Italian captain Steven Crowley won the toss and elected to bat first under bright sunshine at the Abu Dhabi Oval 2 on Friday morning.
It was a flying start for Italy when Gareth Berg and Andy Northcote found the boundary with regularity in the initial overs of the contest.
Berg plundered 24 from 16 balls before he had his leg-stump removed by Sharif in the 4th over with the score on 31.
Sharif then proved too quick for Peter Petricola, clean bowling the Italian number 3 in the 6th over as Scotland looked to contain the Azzuri after a promising start.
Andy Northcote held the innings together for Italy after captain Crowley had been caught behind by Matthew Cross from the bowling of Neil Carter for 10.
Italy had moved to 94/4 with 5 overs remaining when Majid Haq produced one of the catches of the tournament - Perera hit the ball back hard down the ground only to see the diving Haq complete an instinctive one-handed grab down to his left.
Mick Raso played a quick cameo going into the final overs, but the Scottish bowlers kept their discipline to restrict their opponents to ten boundaries during their innings.
Michael Leask managed to complete a catch on the boundary from the final delivery of the innings as Italy finished on 125/8.
In reply openers Richie Berrington and Calum MacLeod turned in an excellent performance with the bat. MacLeod opened the Scotland boundary count with a sweep shot hard to the fence in the second over.
The boundaries kept coming, and in the eighth over the score was on 66/0 with the Italian’s toiling in the field. MacLeod and Berrington both reached their respective half centuries in quick succession as the 100 came up for Scotland.
Both batsmen were dismissed in their fifties as Italy took a few quick wickets, but Michael Leask and Coetzer took their side to the total with 7 wickets in hand in the 18th over.
Coetzer said at the end of the game, “It was a good solid performance and we did a good job with the ball. Majid, Sharif, Carter all put their hands up, before we knocked the runs off easily.
Their main player Gareth Berg played a few nice shots, but that’s what we expect in T20 cricket. Thankfully Saffy bowled a nice straight one which hit leg-stump and we were off and running.
We’ll wait to see who wins this afternoon and we’ll sit down together and see what our plans are tomorrow.”
Scotland will now play the loser of Netherlands v UAE to decide who will qualify for the 2014 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh. The match will be shown live on Sky Sports at 10am GMT.