Scotland v England Preview

22 Feb

Scotland's World Cup Group A match against England in Christchurch on Monday vital fixture for both teams if they wish to stake a claim to progress to the next stage of the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

Scotland can avenge their loss to England in Aberdeen last May but will have to be at their best to
push for victory.

England, however, were mauled by Australia and New Zealand in their two games and scored less
than the Scots did against the Kiwis.

Grant Bradburn’s team have played three games at Hagley Oval in recent times and know the
conditions better than their opponents.

During the 2014 ICC World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand at the beginning of last year, they
played Canada and Kenya, winning both games by 170 runs and 3 wickets respectively.

The Saltires returned to the picturesque ground last October on their High Performance Programme
tour as preparation for this year's showpiece event, losing to Canterbury by 4 wickets.

Scotland can put some daylight between England and themselves should they win and already have
a superior run rate.

Australia’s match against Bangladesh at the Gabba in Brisbane was a washout without a ball being
bowled.

The shared point will not affect the co-hosts too much, but has boosted Bangladesh's hopes of
reaching the quarter-finals - making the outcome of today’s clash and the Asian side's games against
England and Scotland, do-or-dies.

Matt Machan scored an impressive 56 in trying conditions against the Blackcaps in the Scots'
opening match of the tournament and is looking forward to the rematch.

The 24-year-old speaking ahead of the game, said he was "excited" by the prospect of playing
England.

"They've been an indifferent team over the last six months, they're still one of the best sides in the
world in my opinion - they've got some quality bowlers and quality batters - and I'm looking
forward to it.

Machan scored a quick-fire 33 from 38 balls at Mannofield last year and his fifty last Tuesday
(coming off 79 balls) has been likened to Australia’s heavy-hitter left-handed batsman David
Warner.

Speaking prior to the World Cup, captain Preston Mommsen described the Sussex batsman as
“dynamic” with the “ability to take the game away from the opposition.”

His 97-run fifth-wicket partnership with Richie Berrington (50 from 80 balls) steadied the ship,
giving their team something to bowl at.

New Zealand's new-ball bowling attack is arguably the best in the world, bowling Scotland out for
142 and England for 123, so the way the batsmen play the first ten overs will be crucial.

Jimmy Anderson will swing the ball in the manner of Tim Southee and Stuart Broad's ability to
move the ball away from the right-hander will pose problems.

Scotland must attack England at every opportunity; their tendency to wilt under pressure is
renowned and they go into the match under enormous pressure.

All three disciplines will have to be near perfect for an upset to take place; the bowling will need to
be tighter; the batting more aggressive (but circumspect early on), especially during the power-play.
As Pakistan showed in a dismal display against the West Indies, if chances are spurned then do not
expect to win at this level, so the fielding will need to improve.

The bowling, though not poor in Dunedin, was not accurate or economical. Iain Wardlaw, Rob
Taylor and Josh Davey all went at above 5.7 runs to the over.

This was partly due to the opposition attacking a low score for net run rate purposes but the seam
bowlers were too short and wide, allowing easy scoring options either side of the wicket.

The bowling unit should analyse Southee and Trent Boult’s performances at this tournament.
They will see the full lengths bowled on the bowlers’ pitch maps. If they follow this template, they
will have success.

The Black Caps’ bowlers have bowled all three teams they have played in this competition out. 19
of the 30 wickets being out bowled, LBW or caught behind.

Scotland’s coaching staff will tell the bowlers to keep the ball full and straight; England’s inability
to deal with the new-ball was there for all to see and whichever side can nullify the moving ball,
will control the match.

Majid Haq’s role will be vital. England struggle against spin and their conservative approach to
playing slow bowling is another achilles heel, especially during the batting power-play or the last
ten overs of an innings.

Former England captain Andrew Strauss said that Eoin Morgan’s team must "bully" Scotland - rich
coming from a side that is widely ridiculed for being "flat-track bullies”. Scotland must not be
pushed around.

This match poses a potential banana skin for the Full Member team. Strauss’ comments are
indicative of the general apathy with which the Associates are viewed.

The sobering experience at the University Oval will temper expectations but fuel the team's desire
to get one over the Auld Enemy.

Ireland and the Netherlands have embarrassed England and now its time for Scotland to add to the
growing list of upsets, the one the neutrals crave.

View other news from February 2015

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