Kyle Coetzer played a real captain’s innings as his superb unbeaten century – and a brilliant 114 run partnership alongside Michael Leask – helped Scotland’s men defeat the UAE in their latest match in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series in Pearland, Texas, on Tuesday.
The Scots went into the game having lost one and won one on the trip to date against hosts the USA over the weekend while they were looking to record their 10th One Day International victory in their last 11 outings in the format in this one.
When they were 88-5 at the end of the 27th over in their reply chasing 216 to win, it looked like it might be a very tight finish, but then Coetzer and Leask came together and put on the aforementioned 114 runs
When Leask was out in the 46th over the team still needed 14 runs to win before Chris Greaves (8 not out) helped Coetzer (108 not out) see the team home by four wickets with 12 balls to spare.
“I am very proud to have helped the team over the line,” Coetzer said after his fifth ODI century, an innings which included 16 fours and lasted 142 balls.
“We did speak as a group in our scouting meeting about how we would react if we lost the toss on a ground – and in conditions – that has certainly been favouring batting first.
“That happened, but the bowlers adjusted very well and stuck to their plans, defending one side of the field and attacking from the other and we certainly put the UAE under pressure through certain phases of the game.
“Importantly we took our catches too and we were able to hold them to a lowish total because chasing was always going to be tricky on that surface.
“Chris Sole was the standout bowler, he has come in and hit a really decent length in the last couple of games, but all of the bowlers put in a shift, especially into the breeze.
“Then came a fighting effort in the second half to try and get over the line.
We had to graft away and I rode my luck at times, but on that pitch you really had to commit to your shots if you were going to play them and I am just pleased to help the team get some more points on the board.
“In recent times we have relied a lot on Richie Berrington and George Munsey with the bat, so it was good to see other guys chipping in and Michael Leask came in and did a great job for the team when required.
“His innings provided some impetus when it was required and he has been in great form with bat and ball for a while now.
“It was a character-building day in the heat as we got to our target.
“Credit to the USA and the way they played to beat us on Saturday, but we have done well to win our last two games and will now look forward to Friday – we want to end the trip on a high.”
Adrian Neill came into the Scotland XI for this one in place of fellow seamer Safyaan Sharif and, as Coetzer mentioned, the UAE won the toss and decided to bat.
And, after Calum MacLeod and Chris Sole had got things off to a tight start with the ball, it was Neill who struck first, having Muhammad Waseem caught by wicketkeeper Matthew Cross in the ninth over.
Chirag Suri and Vriitya Aravind, the UAE wicketkeeper, then put on 66 runs for the second wicket before the latter was caught by MacLeod off the bowling of spinner Hamza Tahir.
Suri and Chundangapoyil Rizwan then took Scotland up to 134, the former making it past his half century before the returning Sole bowled him for 69 which came off 121 balls.
Two overs later Sole had Rohan Mustafa (2) caught by Coetzer and the UAE were 142-4 with 14 and a half overs to go of the innings.
In those 14 and a half overs they added another 73 runs while Scotland took five more wickets.
Basil Hameed (6) was caught by George Munsey off the bowling of spinner Greaves.
Greaves then became the catcher to give Sole his third scalp of the day, removing Alishan Sharafu for 22 before Neill – with the help of a Munsey catch – got the key wicket of Rizwan who had made 55 off 57 balls.
Sole then clean bowled Kashif Daud (1) and skipper Ahmed Raza was run out for 9 as the UAE posted 215-9 from their 50 overs.
Sole led the way with his best ever ODI figures of 4-27 and he was well supported by the rest of the bowling unit, Neill taking 2-37, Greaves 1-32 and Tahir 1-43.
In reply, Scotland got off to a sticky start and Cross (2) was bowled by Junaid Siddique off just the fourth ball of the innings.
Coetzer and MacLeod then put on a 42-run partnership for the second wicket to settle things down before, in the 13th over, Raza had the latter caught by Mustafa for 20.
Scotland were 74-2 after 20 overs before Richie Berrington, the century maker from Sunday’s win over the USA, was bowled for 13 by Rizwan, a bowler with quite a unique action for sure.
Munsey – bowled Hameed for 1 – and Dylan Budge – caught Hameed, bowled Raza for 5 – soon followed Berrington back to the pavilion and the UAE had their tails up.
That was when Coetzer was joined at the crease by Leask and, after they consolidated things, they soon started to take the game away from their opponents.
With 15 overs of their innings left they had progressed the total to 135-5, the side needing 81 runs off 90 balls at that point.
They then needed 45 off 60 balls and, from the first ball of the 43rd over bowled by Raza, Coetzer reached his three figures with a single.
A six off the second ball of the 46th over bowled by Hameed took Leask up to 47 and he looked to be on the way to a well-deserved half-century until he was adjudged to be out LBW two balls later.
Greaves then joined Coetzer in the middle and finished things off, hitting a four off Waseem from the last ball of the 48th over to get Shane Burger’s men over the line.
Scotland complete their ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series fixtures for this trip against the UAE on Friday at the same ground (4.30pm UK time).