Scotland recorded their second straight win of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup qualifier with a 4-run victory over Papua New Guinea in Dubai, thanks to an inspired bowling performance from spinners Mark Watt and Hamza Tahir.
Winning the toss and opting to bat first, Scotland posted a moderate 146 with Kyle Coetzer (54) and Cross (40*) showing their class and experience to top-score in mid-30 temperatures against a PNG outfit who came off the back of an unbeaten streak of 11 games.
Cross’ knock was particularly valuable, reaching 40 not out from just 23 balls at number six to push Scotland on from 80/4 in the thirteenth over to 146/6 at the close.
With 140 below par on that ground, Kyle Coetzer knew his men would have to bowl well to avoid their second defeat of the T20 World Cup qualifying campaign and continue their momentum after Saturday’s 31-run win over Kenya.
In the field, Papua New Guinea showed why they are a force to be reckoned with in this format, sitting comfortably at 63/1 after 10 overs chasing 147 to record their third win of the tournament and cement their spot at the top of the table.
However, spin duo Mark Watt (2/23 including one maiden and two wickets in two balls) and Hamza Tahir (3/24) had other ideas, combining to take 5/31 and change the course of the game.
Wickets down, PNG never gave up with Norman Vanua smashing an 18-ball 33 at number seven, helping PNG to 17 runs off the penultimate over with Jason Kila (10) at the other end to leave Scotland nine to defend in the last over.
Josh Davey (2/23), consistent as ever in the tournament, removed the pair in the first two balls to leave Scotland quietly jubilant – though still hesitant – in the field with nine to defend from four balls.
Two singles, followed by a dot ball and two runs, gave Scotland the victory by four runs on the final ball.
The game leaves Scotland in third place after three games on four points, below PNG and Netherlands. Our next fixture comes against Namibia on Tuesday 22nd October at the ICC Academy in Dubai.