Scotland’s men got their final batch of Cricket World Cup League 2 fixtures of 2022 off to the perfect start on Thursday when they defeated Namibia in Windhoek.
The Scots are in Namibia to take on the hosts and Nepal and are looking to take a big step towards making sure of topping the table heading into 2023.
And Shane Burger’s men made a strong opening to the tour with a four wicket victory over Namibia as 211-9 played 213-6.
Scotland head coach Burger said: “We are happy with the win, we will take this for a first performance and we have set high goals on this trip and we want to make sure we achieve them.
“It got a bit closer than we would have liked in the end, but we were really happy to restrict them to 211-9 from their 50 overs. I thought the seamers in particular were brilliant on that wicket, showing energy and accuracy.
“For Brandon McMullen to get three wickets with the newer ball was good while Safyaan Sharif bowled very well with the old ball and Chris Sole brought a real intensity to things.
“Their spinners probably out-bowled our spinners and it is something we will learn from, but, as I say, restricting them to 211 was satisfying.
“I was confident that we could chase our target down and I thought the way Kyle Coetzer with the bat started was outstanding, playing some very strong shots.
“It was good to see Brandon not out at the end and Mark Watt also play with confidence to get us over the line, but the disappointment was that there was no real match winning knock, like an 80 plus with one guy taking responsibility and going on and winning the game for us more comfortably.
“Overall though I am very happy with the win, we will learn from a few things, rest up on our day off on Friday and be ready to go again come Sunday.”
Burger handed a full international debut to South African-born all-rounder Brandon McMullen – who has been starring for Stirling County in domestic cricket in recent years and who was part of the squad at the recent T20 World Cup – and the visitors were bowling first.
With spinner Hamza Tahir and seamer Chris Sole probing from the off, the Scots made the breakthrough in the fourth over when the latter had Lo-handre Louwrens caught by the former for 7.
McMullen’s career with the ball at this level got off to a dream start when he then had Michael van Lingen caught by skipper Richie Berrington for 2 in the seventh over.
That left Namibia 16-2 and when wicketkeeper Matthew Cross caught Divan la Cock behind the stumps off the bowling of McMullen for 21, they were 39-3.
McMullen’s day then got even better in the 15th over when George Munsey pouched Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton off his bowling to make it 45-4.
Namibia desperately needed someone to act as the glue to their innings if they were to set a decent total in 50 overs and Gerhard Erasmus, their skipper, was going to go on and be that man.
Batting at number four, he put on 47 runs with Zane Green for the fifth wicket before the latter was out for 12 in the 24th over, the wicketkeeper being caught and bowled by Michael Leask.
Then JJ Smit came to the party alongside the unbeaten Erasmus, putting on 69 runs until the former was bowled by Safyaan Sharif for 38.
Ruben Trumpelmann fell to the same bowler LBW three balls later and Sharif, with his tail up now, then bowled Bernard Scholtz as Namibia made it to 186-8.
In the end, their total was 211-9 with Erasmus finishing on an excellent 96 not off from 130 balls including nine 4s and one 6.
Sharif and McMullen led the way for Scotland with 3-33 and 3-35 respectively while Sole and Leask also took wickets, there was a run out and spinner Mark Watt bowled his wicketless 10 overs for just 35 runs.
In reply, Munsey was out for 5 LBW to Trumpelmann in the third over, before Kyle Coetzer and Chris McBride put on 58 runs for the second wicket.
Coetzer fell for an excellent 54 in the 15th over and, by the time McBride and Cross (30 and 19 respectively) were back in the pavilion it was 140-4 in the early stages of the 30th over.
There had also been a rain delay when Scotland had just reached their century and, despite Berrington (36) and Leask (18) falling, McMullen, with 31 not out off 38 balls, and Watt (10 not out) got the visitors up to 213-8 with nearly eight overs to spare.
Scholtz was the pick of Namibia’s bowlers with 1-15 from his 10 overs including three maidens.
Next up for Scotland is a match with Nepal on Sunday, followed up by Namibia next Monday and then their second clash with Nepal next Thursday.