Scotland today played their last game in the opening round of ICC Cricket World Cup League Two as they defeated Papua New Guinea by 38 runs at Mannofield, Aberdeen.
On a fresh wicket, Kyle Coetzer opted to remain unchanged and stick with his four frontline spinners in Watt, Tahir, Sole and Leask as Adrian Neill, Gavin Main and Alasdair Evans sat out for the clash.
Winning the toss and asking Coetzer’s men to bat first, Scotland enjoyed a 39-run stand for the first wicket before Matthew Cross (8) popped one to Toka at leg slip to hand Pokana (2/40) his first wicket of the day in the ninth over.
Calum MacLeod (9), with 56 runs from four ODIs in the series, strolled out to the middle to join the captain but the pair could only add 20 runs in the seven overs shared at the crease before MacLeod fell to Soper in the seventeenth.
Kyle Coetzer (reaching his 16th ODI half-century with 62) was joined by George Munsey (35) and the pair added 46 runs before the former fell – an inside edge rolling onto the stumps to hand Vala his first but not before the early damage had been done.
Setting a platform for Richie Berrington (81) and George Munsey to play with freedom, the pair added 40 from 58 balls before Munsey skied one in the air in the 40th over to hand Vanua (1/48) his only wicket of the day.
With Craig Wallace (16) at the other end, Richie Berrington was unfazed by the wickets falling around him as he continued his groove to smash six sixes and one four on his way to 81 – his 13th ODI half-century – in the gentle Aberdeen sunshine. The pair put on 33 from five overs before Craig Wallace was caught well at cover by Amini off the bowling of Pokana in the 45th over.
With five overs left, Michael Leask (12) was brought to the crease to join Richie Berrington and Scotland’s number four soon carried on his business, the pair smashing 48 runs in 25 balls to propel the side to 226/6 before Leask was bowled by Soper with seven deliveries left.
Tom Sole (5*) strolled to the middle and got a first-ball ramp shot away for four on the last ball of the 49th before Richie Berrington smashed a full toss for six on the first ball in the 50th over.
A run out on the second ball saw Richie Berrington head back to the pavilion for 81, before Safyaan Sharif (4*) claimed three on the third. A single each saw 12 runs come from the final over, taking the total to 242/7.
In response, Mark Watt was handed the new ball and conceded only one run from the over before Safyaan Sharif (1/44) came on for his first at the other end.
Sharif struck on his second ball, trapping Ura LBW for 0 after a huge appeal and raised finger from umpire Alex Dowdalls standing in his 250th appearance.
PNG were able to provide resistance against a confident Scotland bowling attack to produce a 42-run stand for the second wicket, Toka (20) combining with captain Vala (xx) before Tom Sole (1/30) spun the ball past the edge and safe into the hands of Matthew Cross to leave PNG 44/2 after 12.3 overs.
Runs were hard to come and by the time PNG had reached the halfway point, only four boundaries had been struck with the run-rate at 3.36 an over requiring 6.36 to chase down 243.
PNG’s steady approach to the run-chase took a hit when Mark Watt (2/43) broke PNG’s third wicket stand of 52 as Siaka (34) looked to hit down the ground but could only pick out Munsey at mid-off who settled to take a comfortable catch in the 27th over. Scotland struck again in the next over as Richie Berrington affected a run out to see the back of Doriga for just the two runs, leaving PNG 101/4 in the 29th.
Assad Vala (48) was the mainstay for the majority of PNG’s innings and provided some hope before he fell to the off-spin of Calum MacLeod (1/13) in the 34th over, failing to connect with a reverse sweep he successfully put away two balls earlier.
Vanua (4) fell five balls later to another run out, leave PNG reeling at 127/6 after 34.3 overs as Kyle Coetzer and Matthew Cross combined to send PNG’s number seven back to the pavilion.
PNG lost their remaining three wickets for 50 runs with Michael Leask (1/43), Hamza Tahir (1/27) and Mark Watt taking one wicket each in the closing stages of the game to restrict PNG to 204/9 and earn Scotland a 38-run win – their third of the series.