Scotland v Pakistan 17 May 2013
From Cricket Scotland, Photo: Donald MacLeod
1st ODI: Scotland v Pakistan at Edinburgh - May 17, 2013
Pakistan 231/7 (50 ov); Scotland 135 (39.4 ov)
Pakistan won by 96 runs [Scorecard]
The sun beamed over The Grange Club on Friday morning for the first ODI encounter between Scotland and Pakistan.
Playing against the side that he made his debut against, new Scotland Captain Kyle Coetzer lost the toss to his opposite Misbah-ul-Haq under clear blue skies, and Scotland were asked to field first.
Neil Carter and Iain Wardlaw opened the bowling for Scotland, facing the talented youngster Nasir Jamshed and his experienced partner Imran Farhat.
The Pakistan batsmen looked to capitalise on anything loose to assert their authority early on.
Both Carter and Wardlaw bowled with enough pace early on, forcing the batsmen into some false strokes with a number of edges just evading the fielders.
Scotland were unlucky not to take a wicket in the opening 6 overs, and it was far from easy going for the Pakistan batsmen in the early stages.
Farhat looked the more composed man at the crease as Pakistan reached 40-0 after 8 overs.
Rob Taylor was introduced from the Nursery End and had success restricting the Pakistan batsmen. The Scottish bowlers kept their discipline well, and were rewarded when the skills of Taylor and Preston Mommsen combined sent Nasir Jamshed back to the pavilion.
Scotland looked every bit as good as their full-member opponents in the early exchanges, and as the match passed the 14th over the game was evenly balanced.
The spin of Matt Machan was introduced in the 17th over, shortly followed by Majid Haq, who replaced Taylor at the Nursery end.
Taylor led the way, finishing his spell of 5 overs for the loss of only 12 runs, doing a fantastic job preventing the run flow.
Haq made the second breakthrough, and in doing so broke a Scottish record of highest Scottish ODI wicket taker, claiming the prized scalp of Mohammad Hafeez with the last ball of the 20th over.
Haq teased Hafeez into playing a false stroke, and Josh Davey did the rest taking a clean low catch to the ground at backward point.
That wicket was Haq’s 42nd One Day International wicket, taking him past John Blain as Scotland’s leading wicket-taker in the format.
At this stage Scotland looked firmly on top, and had the Pakistan batsmen rattled.
Machan quickly got in on the act forcing Farhat to play on to his stumps, whilst the very next over Pakistan were in deep trouble as Haq claimed his second wicket, clean bowling Shafiq for only 9.
Pakistan brought up their 100 in the 27th over, for the loss of 4 wickets.
With Pakistan toiling, there was a need to stabilise their innings, as it seemed frustration had set in as Umar Amin tried to take the aerial route to the boundary, only to be smartly caught by Taylor running around the leg-side boundary.
Pakistan looked to consolidate as they managed to take the total to 144-5, with Misbah-ul-Haq playing a captain’s innings to keep things respectable.
Carter returned to bowl from the Pavilion End and struck in his first over back, with Kamran Akmal the victim of an LBW appeal. Saeed Ajmal was the new man in and ably assisted Misbah as the pair rotated the strike well.
The pair reached 175 in the 44th over, as Ajmal looked to up the run-rate. He hit two quick boundaries, including a scoop over the keeper as they moved towards 200 runs.
Misbah brought up a patient half-century, before Wardlaw removed Ajmal who had raced along to 28.
Pakistan reached 200 at the end of the 47th over as Misbah anchored the innings well in the latter stages, whilst some late hitting from Ajmal and Ehsan Adil helped Pakistan finish on 231-7.
Scotland helped contain Pakistan to a below-par score and will be pleased with their fielding efforts that only conceded 6 extras.
Haq was the pick of the Scottish bowlers, returning with figures of 3-39 off 10 overs, with Wardlaw, Carter, Taylor and Machan all chipping in with valuable wickets.
Kyle Coetzer and Carter opened the batting for Scotland, and were up against the towering 7ft figure of Mohammad Irfan from the Nursery End.
Pakistan struck an early blow to the Scots run chase with Junaid Khan removing Carter without scoring.
Josh Davey and Coetzer looked to build a substantial partnership, and both looked in good touch, Davey finding the boundary twice with classy shots through the off side.
The Scottish pair’s composure shone through as they moved the score along to 41-1 after 10 overs.
Davey was the next man out, succumbing to Adil’s bowling getting a faint edge through to wicketkeeper Akmal.
Number four batsmen Machan aimed to be positive coming down the track early on, launching Adil over mid-wicket for a one-bounce four just before the drinks break.
The key wicket of captain Coetzer fell for a well-made 32 to the off spin of Mohammad Hafeez straight after the break - Akmal taking a smart catch down the leg side.
Irfan was brought back into the attack and was to claim the wicket of Machan after he hit the ball into the ground but unfortunately the ball bounced back onto his stumps.
Scotland now sitting uncomfortably on 75-4, needed Iqbal and Mommsen to dig in and recover the situation after starting so well.
The Scotland pair played the balls on merit to try and form a partnership, however runs were hard to come by.
In the 28th over an unfortunate mix-up between Iqbal and Mommsen cost the former his wicket after he was left short of his ground from an accurate throw back to Ajmal to remove the bails.
Scotland had 100 on the board in the 31st over, just before Richie Berrington struck a sweep shot into the hands of Asad Shafiq on the boundary
Saeed Ajmal was doing his best to bamboozle the Scotland batsmen, teasing Mommsen out of his crease before being stumped by Akmal.
He was followed by Murphy, and then Haq in consecutive balls as Junaid Khan had both trapped leg before wicket.
At this stage Scotland were toiling at 116-9 in the 37th over, with Rob Taylor and Iain Wardlaw the last batsmen at the crease.
The pair enjoyed their time in the middle with four boundaries coming in quick time, before Rob Taylor was Ajmal’s 2nd victim of the day, with Scotland finishing 96 runs short of the target set by Pakistan.
Scotland performed well in the field and bowled tight lines, restricting Pakistan to a below-par score of 231, with the bowling of record breaker Majid Haq a particular highlight.
However after Coetzer and Davey started well in response, Scotland lost 4 wickets for only 51 runs, putting an enormous amount of pressure on the lower-order batsmen, which in the end proved too difficult as the visitors recorded a 96 run win.
After the match captain Kyle Coetzer said, “We felt we had a real chance today and after getting ourselves into such a strong position we are pretty disappointed with the result.”
One thing for sure is Scotland will be eager to rectify things against Pakistan this Sunday, and even things up in the series.