Scotland one win away from World Cup spot
Scotland prepare to take on Kenya this evening in their final ICC 2014 World Cup Qualifying Super Six match in New Zealand.
Following victory against PNG on Tuesday, Scotland currently occupies the second spot for a World Cup berth. A win against Kenya tonight would see Scotland end their six year exile on the global stage.
After a loss in their initial match against Hong Kong, the tournament’s surprise horses, the Scots have shown real resilience with five back-to-back victories.
Preston Mommsen’s century against Hong Kong, although in a losing cause, was made even more impressive with it being his first match back, following a lengthy lay-off with a stress fracture of the pelvis.
Mommsen has overseen the two most recent victories as captain, after Kyle Coetzer suffered a recurrence of the wrist injury that kept him out of the ODI against Australia in the summer.
Freddie Coleman has re-paid coaches Collingwood and Wright’s faith with some impressive performances. His crucial, hard fought, score of 64 against Nepal was vital to help his country turn their fortunes around.
Matt Machan and Calum MacLeod have enjoyed success in the tournament so far. Machan picked up his Man of the Match award after his 78 against Namibia helped Scotland to 21 run victory.
Calum MacLeod, currently the second leading run-scorer of the tournament, took centre stage in the victory over the UAE, before breaking records in the final group match against Canada with the highest score in any World Cup Qualifying competition.
It was a game that produced Scotland’s highest ever ODI total, the highest ODI individual score by a Scot, plus the country’s highest ODI second wicket partnership of all time, by Machan and MacLeod.
Their partnership of 144 was Scotland’s best ever 2nd wicket partnership in any type of limited over game, beating the 134 by Davey and Coetzer against Afghanistan last year.
“It was a great knock by Calum [who scored 175]. At no point did he look to hit the ball too hard, just used his strengths and executed his skills perfectly”, Interim Joint Head Coach, Craig Wright, told the Cricket Scotland website.
The opening bowling duo of Rob Taylor and Iain Wardlaw, together with the hardworking Safyaan Sharif, have been a menace to opposition top-orders of late, while the economical Majid Haq has also provided a fine foil to the quick bowlers. He ensured he wasn’t to go without a mention in the final group match, claiming his 50th ODI wicket, and in the process, becoming the first man from Caledonia to do so.
Matthew Cross has also had a good tournament with the bat and gloves, with the Scot claiming 12 victims behind the stumps and 181 runs.
Cross managed six catches and two run outs on his ODI debut against Canda, which equaled the ODI record for the number of catches.
Kenya has already shown that it is a dangerous outfit after defeating early tournament contenders the Netherlands. With the likes of Steven Tikolo, Collins Obouya and Ifran Patel in their ranks, our opponents have shown that, on their day they can be a destructive force against most bowling attacks.
“The important thing for us is to keep our heads, concentrate on what we’ve been doing well, and we’ll see where that takes us.” concluded Wright.
Preston Mommsen said after the match against PNG, “There’s still one very important match to play but we’ve put ourselves in a very good position. We’ve played some good cricket throughout the tournament and, hopefully, we can get a good result against Kenya and we’ll be in the World Cup.
The mind-set has been one of our positive things of this tournament, it’s changed quite a lot and there is plenty of confidence around that dressing room at the moment. We’ll be looking to get some runs on the board [against Kenya] and apply some pressure.
I’m happy with where I am mentally, physically it’s been a challenge and haven’t had the warm up as I would have liked, but I’m pleased with the way I’m hitting them [following his 94 against PNG] .
We need to be switched on and we’ll be going full on for that win, we want to stamp our authority in the associate cricket world and there is no better way to do it.
Before the tournament we got together and we discussed where we were at as a team and we knew this was massive for us, accepted the pressure and we’ve embraced it. Kenya’s another game of cricket for us, just another 100 overs, so hopefully we come out victorious and be on that plane to Australia”.