Michael Leask’s heroics weren’t enough to prevent Scotland’s Men losing a classic Cricket World Cup League Two encounter against Nepal in Kirtipur on Friday.
Batting first, the visitors were in trouble on 109-5, but all-rounder Leask hit a superb maiden ODI century batting at number seven.
The Forfarshire man made 107 not out from just 85 balls in the second half of the’ innings to haul them up to a competitive total of 274-9. He was helped by contributions from Jack Jarvis (26) and Mark Watt (20).
19-year-old Jarvis was handed his debut, as was 20-year-old Tom Mackintosh – the pair join Olly Davidson in becoming male Scotland ODI caps born in this century.
Nepal were reduced to 77-5 after a crazy first powerplay, and Scotland had a good chance of a second victory in three days after beating Namibia on Wednesday.
However, Kushal Malla made 81 and Dipendra Singh Airee 85 not out, as Nepal reached 275-7 to win by three wickets with three overs remaining.
Scotland head coach Shane Burger said: “To get up to 274 on that wicket after we had struggled earlier on was a great effort, and to see Michael Leask get his first ODI hundred was special.
“Given the calibre of player he is and the quality he has, it was perhaps a surprise that it’s taken this long to come, but it is a memory that will live with me for a long time, especially given he scored it in front of a loud home crowd.
“I was really happy with what we had posted as a score and it should have been enough for us, but it wasn’t.
“With the ball, I was really disappointed. We were ill-disciplined, we didn’t execute our plans and our fielding was also poor. We gave away far too many extras  and made sloppy mistakes, it was very unsatisfactory and not what we pride ourselves on – we set much higher standards than that.
“Credit to Nepal, it was a good run chase from them in front of their passionate supporters and they are an ever-improving team.
“There are still pluses we can take away from the game and we are trying a few different players and trying a few things having finished top of the standings already.
“It was good to see Tom Mackintosh and Jack Jarvis make their debuts. They both started well with the bat and will have been disappointed to get out when they did, but they have exciting futures.”
With Kyle Coetzer and George Munsey rested, Chris McBride opened the batting with Berrington and they started things off well, reaching 34 in the eighth over before the latter was caught and bowled by Kushal Malla for 19.
McBride was then caught behind by wicketkeeper Aasif Sheikh off the same bowler for 22 four overs later and the Scots were 51-2.
Matthew Cross and Mackintosh were both adjudged to be out LBW to Sandeep Lamichhane for two and 19 respectively, before a 46-run fifth wicket partnership between Brandon McMullen and Chris Greaves. When Greaves was out for 16 it was 109-5 and, soon after, McMullen was also returning to the pavilion after falling for 22.
That left Scotland up against it on 111-6 in the 25th over, but the experienced Leask then took control.
Firstly, he shared an 81 run partnership with Jarvis, and then Watt came in to help put together a 76 run stand.
The change in momentum allowed Scotland to reached a competitive total by the 50 over mark, with Leask’s innings a joy to watch.
While Scottish fans all know about his big hitting – there were three 4s and nine 6s in there – his running between the wickets and shot placement was also excellent.
Five Nepal bowlers took wicket, in a good all-round effort from the home side in the field.
Chris Sole’s first over of the reply went for 23, but he was then the man to make the initial breakthroughs.
With the first ball of the third over he had Kushal Bhurtel caught behind by wicketkeeper Cross for 16 and, four balls later, the same combination did for Gyanendra Malla.
Sheikh was caught by Greaves off Sole in the fifth over leaving Nepal at 39-3, and two scalps from Mark Watt made it 77-5 in the 11th over.
Kushal Mall and Dipendra Singh Airee then began to rebuild things and proceeded to construct a 100-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
The Scots needed a wicket at this point and it came when Mall was caught for an excellent 81 off just 67 balls by Hamza Tahir off the bowling of Watt in the 28th over. With less than 100 needed to win, and plenty of overs left, Scotland knew they had to bowl Nepal out to win the match.
Singh Airee was named Player of the Match, and he and Gulsan Jha put on 43 for the seventh wicket. When Leask had Jha caught and bowled, Nepal needed 55 to win.
The run rate meant always seemed likely, with Singh Airee playing some great strokes and the Scottish bowling and fielding just lacking a bit of accuracy when it was needed most.
Airee saw them home with 85 not out from 116 ball, while Sompal Kami contributed a useful 24 not out from 32 balls.
Scotland’s next match is on Monday morning when they face Namibia in Kirtipur at 0900 local time (0315 GMT).
All matches are available to watch on ICC TV, head to https://app.icc.tv/schedule for more information.