Scotland secure comfortable win over Nepal
Nepal 137/7 (20 overs) Bhandari 28, Goudie 4-0-29-3, Sharif 4-0-19-3, lost to Scotland 138/2 (19.2 overs) MacLeod 82, Machan 28, by 8 wickets [Scorecard]
Scotland produced a solid all-round performance against highflying Nepal to record their first win in the World T20 Qualifying tournament at the ICC Global Cricket Academy Oval 2 in Dubai.
After winning the toss captain Kyle Coetzer elected to field first in hot afternoon sunshine. The only change in the Scotland team was Michael Leask, who came in for Neil Carter after the former Warwickshire all-rounder fell sick before the match.
Scotland opted to change about their opening bowlers with Calum MacLeod and Safyaan Sharif spearheading the attack. It was Sharif who made the breakthrough in his first over to dismiss Subash Khakurel for 6, with Rob Taylor taking the catch at mid-off.
Nepal were finding it hard to get the ball away and in the 6th over Pun skied a high catch to Majid Haq off the bowling of Goudie for the first of his three wickets.
Five runs later Goudie had another wicket thanks to a sharp bit of glove-work by David Murphy down the leg-side to dismiss Gyanendra Malla for 14. Nepal found themselves on 35/3 in the 6th over of the day.
Paras Khadka and Binod Bhandari got the Nepalese innings back on track with a partnership worth 47 before Calum MacLeod took a stunning catch, diving forward on the boundary to remove Bhandari for 27.
Captain Paras Khadka then departed in the 16th over to another well held catch by Matt Machan on the long-on boundary and Nepal seemed in trouble on 102/5 with less than 5 overs remaining.
Disciplined Scottish bowling performances ensured Nepal would finish on 137 from their 20 overs as Safyaan Sharif took his best ever T20 bowling figures, joining Goudie in claiming three wickets.
Richie Berrington and Calum MacLeod opened the batting for Scotland and in the 4th over Berrington missed a Regmi delivery and was swiftly stumped by Khakurel, with the score on 17.
An impressive partnership of 48 by Machan and MacLeod took Scotland closer to their target as both batsmen attacked when any wayward bowling came their way.
Machan was dismissed caught and bowled by Khadka in the 10th over attempting to sweep, after scoring 28 from 19 balls including three fours and a six, with the score on 65/2.
Coetzer was happy to play the anchor role in the middle as MacLeod set about the bowling with some fierce striking of the ball. At the end of the 12th over, Scotland needed another 56 runs.
MacLeod reached his second half century of the tournament with some sensible batting, and ensured that the run rate was always kept in check.
The singles kept coming before a wonderful straight six by MacLeod ensured that Scotland would only needed 7 runs from 11 deliveries.
The final runs came with four balls to spare, handing the Scots an eight wicket win and a much sought after victory to keep their tournament dreams alive.
After the match Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer commented, “I thought the guys went out and did what we have been talking about. We stuck to our plans and we’ve come out on top against some very good opposition.
Colly said in the warm up today ‘lets go and get a man of the match performance’ and that is exactly what we did. We had the three best performers on the field today.”
When asked if he was nervous towards the end of the innings he commented, “We were pretty calm at the end there. We picked our boundary and bowler and, fortunately enough, Calum kept clearing the boundary and we got there in the end.”
Scotland will now play Kenya at 10am GMT at the ICC Oval 1 tomorrow.
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