Scotland’s Men secured top spot in Cricket World Cup League Two in Nepal on Wednesday, as a superb unbeaten century by George Munsey led them to a comprehensive 10-wicket victory over Namibia.
The Scots put in a stunning all-round performance in Kirtipur to secure their twenty-third win in thirty-three completed ODIs in the tournament, which has been running since 2019.
They had already made sure of their place at June’s World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, but this fabulous result will give the squad even more confidence heading into the final three matches of this tour, before heading to Africa.
While Munsey’s first ever ODI hundred will, rightly, grab the headlines and earned him the Player of the Match award, Scotland’s bowlers deserve a lot of credit too.
After captain Richie Berrington won the toss and chose to field, Michael Leask led the way with 4-24, while fellow spinner Mark Watt took 3-30 and seamer Safyaan Sharif ended up with 3-29 as Namibia were bowled out for 153.
A 157 run unbeaten partnership between Munsey (103 not out from just 61 balls) and Kyle Coetzer (46 not out from 72 balls) then took Scotland home with plenty to spare.
Head Coach Shane Burger said: “The biggest thing for me after this game is that we have secured top spot in Cricket World Cup League Two with this victory against what was a good Namibia team, even though they were missing some players.
“I am proud of the guys and the fashion that we did it in was really pleasing.
“Top spot in the standings is where we should be; it is the goal we set from day one a few years ago and in this Namibia game we were clinical and professional.
“I thought with the ball we were reasonably disciplined and the seamers [Brandon McMullen and Sharif] were excellent.
“The over when Safyaan bowled Michael van Lingen and then had Naminbia captain Gerhard Erasmus trapped LBW first ball was brilliant, and one that was key to the win.
“Then the spinners did their job and I thought Michael Leask was absolutely outstanding. His control and ability to get turn and bounce was excellent, and he was backed up really well by Mark Watt.
“George Munsey has been one of our most consistent players with the bat over the last couple of years and to see him in his new role of opening and combining with Kyle Coetzer so well was excellent.
“To see George get his first ODI hundred for the team at such a crucial moment was great.
“Our aim was always to finish top of the standings, and now we are focused on going one step further and closing things out with three more wins in the coming days.”
In the Namibia innings, Watt got the first wicket in the sixth over, with Karl Birkenstock caught behind by wicketkeeper Matthew Cross for four.
The double blow by Sharif came in the 11th over and left Namibia on 27-3.
Erasmus was out first ball, as was Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton in the 12th over when he was brilliantly clean bowled by sharp turning delivery from Watt.
Lo-handre Louwrens an and Green then put on 49 for the fifth wicket before the latter was caught by Brandon McMullen off the bowling of Leask for 25 in the 20th over.
By the time Louwrens followed Pikky Ya France back to the pavilion after a hard fought 54 off 88 balls, Namibia were 138-7 in the 33rd over. They could only muster another 15 runs before being all out in the 40th over.
Coetzer and Munsey began the Scotland reply with real purpose and the latter raced to his half century in just the 13th over.
Fourteen runs came off over no. 15 bowled by Ben Shikongo and that took Scotland up and over the 100 mark.
Two big 6s by Munsey in the 20th over bowled by Bernard Scholtz left Scotland just 16 runs short of their target.
He then hit a 6 and a 4 off Ya France in over 21 to take him up to 99.
Four leg byes off Loftie-Eaton in the next over tied the scores up, but Coetzer saw out the over to allow Munsey to get to his hundred in the 23rd over.
And he did just that, a switch-hit boundary off Ya France’s first ball taking him into three figures and securing a magnificent victory for the Scots.
Scotland’s next match is on Friday morning when they face Nepal 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.