Gary Heatly looks ahead to Sunday’s Cricket Scotland Men’s T20 Scottish Cup finals day…
The regional competitions have all been completed and now there are four sides who will be battling it out to become Cricket Scotland Men’s T20 Scottish Cup champions on Sunday.
The finals day is being held at Arbroath’s Lochlands ground with Masterton Trophy champions Carlton taking on Rowan Cup winners M8 Driving Ferguslie in the first semi-final at 10.30am.
Key for the Edinburgh side could well be batter Tom Simpson, all-rounder Umair Mohammed and captain Ali Evans.
Wicketkeeper Simpson, named in Scotland’s wider 40-man squad that is building up to the T20 World Cup, hit 70 not out in the Masterton final against Gen!us Grange last month while Mohammed led ion8 Forfarshire to the national T20 final in 2019 and Evans is a very canny operator.
Like Simpson, Ferguslie’s Mohammad Ghaffar is one of the non-contracted players looking to force his way into Scotland head coach Shane Burger’s thoughts for the showpiece event later in the year, and he hit 51 not out in the eight wicket Rowan Cup final victory over SM Cricket Stirling County in mid-July.
He is better known for his work with the ball – taking 2-14 in that same match – while he helped the Western Warriors win the Regional Pro Series 50-over competition on Thursday, taking three wickets in that one.
His club skipper Riyaad Henry took two wickets in that win over the Eastern Knights for the Warriors and he and Haroon Tahir could be key men too for the Paisley men come Sunday.
The second semi-final features Borders competition winners Gala facing the Caledonian event victors Forfarshire at 1.45pm.
Gala defeated Dumfries last week to get this far and they are going well in the ESCA Championship, so it is perhaps no surprise that the players are excited to get the chance to take on the holders.
“It is always good to test yourself as a player and having the chance for us to play against Scotland caps like Craig Wallace and Michael Leask and their Forfarshire team mates who play regularly in the Eastern Premier Division will be great for us all,” Gala skipper Josh Irvine said.
“We know it will be a very tough match, but we deserve to be into finals day and we want to show what we are all about and what we are capable when we get there.”
If he plays, Dinesh Tharanga could be a key man for Gala because he has taken 32 league wickets so far this term while Upul Indrasiri is likely to need to have to score some big runs.
As for the Forfs, well everyone knows how destructive with the bat the aforementioned duo of Wallace and Leask can be while Aman Bailwal is a man in form and their varied bowling attack is good for this format.
The final is due to start at 5.15pm.
The ion8 Forfarshire squad that won the event two years ago are pictured
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