Scotland’s slim hopes of reaching the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup semi-finals came to an end today as they lost to New Zealand by 17 runs in a close fought match in Dubai.
After winning the toss and putting New Zealand in to bat, Scotland made a strong start holding the Black Caps to 52-3 at the end of the power play. Safyaan Sharif and Mark Watt continued the strong form they’ve demonstrated throughout the competiton. But opener Martin Gupthill was a thorn in the side of the Scottish bowling attack scoring 93 off 56 balls to lead his side to 172/5 at the end of their innings.
Scotland kept themselves in the chase with a spirited reply as Coetzer, Munsey and Cross, who scored five fours in a row in the six over, were in the runs, leading the team to 100/3 after 14 overs.
But they could not maintain that momentum, despite a majestic 42 off 20 balls by Michael Leask at the death and missed their target by 16 runs.
“It was so close, but just not quite good enough in the end,” said Head Coach Shane Burger after the match. “We know that we could have done enough and should have done enough to get over the line against a very good cricket team who are ranked fourth in the world, who have some of the world’s best players, particularly in this format. We put on a good show but we also know that there are areas we need to be better in.
“When one of the batters lives to bat through the innings, as we didn’t quite do that can dent you in the end. And from a bowling point of view if we had just managed to control one or two areas a little bit better and upped a game a tiny bit more in the field a 16-run loss could quite easily have swung the other way. There’s quite a few areas you can look into where we just weren’t quite on the money but again given more opportunities in environments like this it’s the only way you can see our players getting better.
“I thought Safyaan Sharif and Mark Watt were both excellent and have been throughout the whole tournament so far. I thought Matthew Cross’s keeping display was top drawer – I don’t think keepers often get a shout out but in this instance I thought his keeping was magnificent. And then from a batting point of view, we got off to a really good start and then just lost wickets at crucial times, but I thought the way Michael Leask finished the innings just shows what an impact he can make in this format.”
Captain Kyle Coetzer, returning to the side after a finger injury kept him out of the match against Namibia last week saw progress today but knows that it needs to continue in Scotland’s final two matches of the competition.
“I think off the back of two losses prior to today it was about going out and trying to perfrom as best we could against a really strong New Zealand side. If we had been able to restrict Guptill earlier in the innings that might have changed the game although we know they still have strength in depth down their line up.
“For us to go out there and put on a bit of a show and show what we’ re capable of is certainly something to take from today. But I do think we’ll look back on that and say there where were those little moments in the game that we could have closed that gap and is that an opportunity missed on our behalf. That’s where we’ve got to keep raising our bar.”
Scotland will play India on Friday starting at 2pm UK time.