A barnstorming start in Oman
On February 19th, waking Scottish fans were left double-checking their phones after an extraordinary performance in the first match of Scotland’s one-day series in Oman. Ruaidhri Smith and debutant Adrian Neill both took 4 for 7 as the hosts were skittled for just 24, and although the Omanis hit back with victory the following day, George Munsey’s 43-ball 96 in the decider ensured that it was the Scots who went home with the spoils from their first tour of the year. For Munsey, a prolific season would be crowned by a 41-ball T20I hundred against the Netherlands; for Oman, the chance to exact a modicum of revenge on Scottish soil would come later in the summer.
DLS decides the May Internationals
With his team in good form Shane Burger’s bow as Scotland coach promised much, but it was the unsettled spring weather which had the biggest say in the outcome of the May Internationals. Rain washed out the opening ODIs against both Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, and while the showers held off long enough to allow the second games to be played to a conclusion, it was the DLS charts which decided their result. While we will never know what might have been had Scotland’s chase not been interrupted against Sri Lanka, it was the match against Afghanistan which proved most frustrating as, with just 31 balls left and the visitors requiring 57, the players were taken from the field just as the batting side had inched ahead in the calculations. What began as heavy rain became torrential, and Scotland’s hopes of another Full Member win were cruelly washed away.
Super Over heroics in Spain
Forget the Rumble in the Jungle, here was the Banger in La Manga. Having slipped to a seven-run defeat in their first T20I against the Netherlands at the Women’s World Cup Europe Region Qualifier in June, Scotland’s women looked to be in trouble again after being bowled out for 96 in their second encounter with the Dutch the following day. A fantastic performance with the ball brought the Scots back into the game, however, as the Netherlands, their top order removed by Kathryn Bryce and Rachel Hawkins, relied on wicketkeeper Babette de Leede to get them up to the same total. Set a target of 8 to win in the Super Over, Kathryn and Sarah Bryce held their nerve to spark memorable scenes on the boundary and prove again that for cricket fans there is nothing quite like the excitement of a low-scoring thriller.
Scotland book their place at the Under-19 World Cup
In July, Scotland reached their eighth ICC Under-19 World Cup with a dominant display at the Europe Region Qualifier in the Netherlands. Led by fine individual performances from Tom Mackintosh, Charlie Peet, Jasper Davidson and Jamie Cairns, Scotland finished the tournament unbeaten, their run of victories capped by a 47-run win over Ireland at Voorburg. Currently going through their final preparations before the competition gets underway in South Africa next month, Gordon Drummond’s team will be quietly confident of causing an upset or two; whatever happens, Group C, which pits the Scots against Full Members Pakistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, is sure to provide a compelling spectacle with which to start the new cricketing year.
The ICC’s new pathway to the Men’s World Cup, Cricket World Cup League 2, got underway in August with back-to-back victories for Oman over Papua New Guinea and an out-of-sorts Scotland at Mannofield. The hosts’ disappointment was short-lived, however, as ever more emphatic wins in the remainder of the round saw the Scots finish it at the top of the table. Kyle Coetzer, Richie Berrington, Matthew Cross and Craig Wallace all shone with the bat, but it was the burgeoning partnership between Hamza Tahir and Mark Watt which most caught the eye, Tahir following up his ODI debut figures of 4 for 37 against PNG with 5 for 38 in the rematch win over Oman. Scotland slipped to second in December after a win, two defeats and a no-result against the UAE and USA, but with three six-match series involving the national side to come in 2020 – not to mention five others elsewhere in CWCL2 – what has already proved to be a terrific competition will only grow more fascinating as it enters its most congested phase so far.
Heartbreak at the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier
Despite narrowly missing out on qualification to the 2020 Women’s World Cup Qualifier, Scotland began the T20 version in confident mood after a fine showing in the pre-tournament Quadrangular Series in the Netherlands, where Steve Knox’s side recorded wins over Thailand and Ireland, the latter for only the second time in Scotland’s history. The potential banana skin of a rain-reduced shoot-out with the USA safely negotiated, Scotland lined up against PNG in Arbroath knowing that a win would all but guarantee them a semi-final berth and, with it, a precious shot at World Cup qualification. In the end it was the island nation which triumphed, however, their six-wicket win leaving Scotland requiring victory over tournament favourites Bangladesh to progress. There, despite another excellent bowling performance which restricted their opponents to 104 for 4, the Scots, chasing a rain-revised target of 63 off eight overs, could only muster 49 as they exited the competition in heartbreaking fashion. Emphatic wins over Namibia and the Netherlands in the play-offs showed what might have been, but fifth place was a long way from what a devastated Scotland had hoped for.
Scotland’s men qualify for the T20 World Cup
There was better news for Scotland’s men, who survived a few scares of their own to secure a spot in the final stages of next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia. Despite losses to Singapore, Namibia and a resurgent Netherlands side in the group stages of the Global Qualifier, a thumping 90-run play-off win over hosts UAE confirmed not only qualification but the completion of another ICC requirement for Full Membership. Only three now remain, and with the T20 World Cup tournament in October next year – not to mention the summer internationals against New Zealand and Australia – giving plenty of opportunities to tick off another, 2020 may well prove to be one of Scotland’s biggest of all.
Either way, we’re sure to be along for the ride.