Molly Paton of Stewart’s Melville held her nerve to hit a 4 off the third last ball of the match to give Scotland a dramatic five wicket victory over USA which ended their ICC Women’s U19 T20 World Cup in South Africa on a high on Friday.
The match took place at Willowmoore Park in Benoni and both sides went into their final match of the showpiece event looking for a first win having finished bottom of Group D and Group A respectively.
In the end it was a cracking match between two sides who gave it everything with 295 runs being scored and the Scots just coming out on top as 147-7 played 148-5.
Their skipper Katherine Fraser was named player of the match for her 3-23 with the ball and then 59 with the bat and she said: “It feels so good to get over the line, it was hot out there and there was a lot of pressure, but we stuck at it.
“It was a game that we really wanted to win and for myself personally I have not had the best tournament with the bat, so it was nice to contribute.
“USA got a few more runs than we would have liked with the bat, but it was a good pitch and we knew we could chase it down in the second half if we stayed calm.
“We have loved this experience and learnt a lot that we can take forward, mainly around managing pressure in games and reacting to game situations.
“This is a great group of players and this has been an excellent trip to be a part of.”
Scotland head coach Peter Ross brought the aforementioned Paton into the XI for this one to give her a tournament debut. Maisie Maceira also returned.
USA decided to have a bat first and it looked like a great decision when they raced to 75 runs by the 11th over until Disha Dhingra was out for 30, caught by wicketkeeper Ailsa Lister off the bowling of Orla Montgomery.
In the next over, Nayma Sheikh managed to get the key wicket of Laasya Mullapudi, bowling her for 43 which had come off just 33 balls.
When the Montgomery-Lister combo was in the game again in the 12th over to dismiss Isani Vaghela, USA were suddenly 87-3 and Scotland had a foothold in things.
Ritu Singh hit 22, skipper Geetika Kodali 13 and there were handy contributions from others in the remaining overs as USA posted 147-7 from their 20 overs.
As mentioned, Fraser took three wickets, Montgomery finished with 2-29, Sheikh took 1-19 and Darcey Carter was involved in a run out.
In reply, Lister made nine before she was out caught by Tya Gonsalves off the bowling of Aditiba Chudasama in the second over.
Carter and Emma Walsingham progressed things well to 42 before the former was stumped by wicketkeeper Pooja Ganesh off the bowling of Chudasama for 15.
When Walsingham fell in 10th over – bowled by Singh – it was 61-3 and Fraser had to play a captain’s knock to get things back on track – and she did just that.
Emily Tucker gave her solid support with 15 in a 68 run partnership which took the score onto 129-4.
Fraser got to her half century and survived a couple of dropped catches before eventually falling for 59 with seven balls of the innings remaining.
She was caught by Chudasama off the bowling of Kodali, but her innings off just 47 balls and including eight 4s and a 6 had her side knocking on the door of victory.
Eight was needed off the final over with Paton joined at the crease by Olivia Bell.
Vaghela was the bowler and the over went wide, Paton one, dot ball, Bell one, wide, Paton 4 to spark celebrations in the Scotland ranks.
It was probably the most important seven not out of Paton’s young career and the most vital one not out of Bell’s and the squad will now travel home with smiles on their faces.
A big thanks to everyone who has supported their campaign from far and wide.
The tournament now enters the Super Six phase and, overall, the event runs until January 29.