After a year to remember in 2021, Scotland’s women have the chance to hit even greater heights in their first outing of ’22. The Commonwealth Games Qualifier in Malaysia will decide the eighth and final team to play at Birmingham this summer: with women’s cricket making its debut at the 24th ‘Friendly Games’, to be a part of history would be huge for a team already making massive strides.
“The fact that it’s a Commonwealth Games, with all that represents, makes being involved in it a really exciting prospect,” said captain Kathryn Bryce. “I was in Glasgow [in 2014], and the way in which it brought everyone together from so many different sports was amazing. Even the qualifying side of it, a completely different tournament to the usual ones we play, is very exciting for us to be a part of.”
Four months and 19 days will have passed since Scotland’s last appearance on the international stage, but the confidence gained from its impressive showing in La Manga has kept team spirit high. An historic five-wicket win over Ireland – the Scots’ second in three months over its Full Member neighbours – headlined their emphatic win at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Europe Qualifier, and although that hiatus will have been felt, both Kathryn and head coach Mark Coles are pleased with how things have been shaping up in Kuala Lumpur.
“We’ve been training on really good pitches with fast outfields, but coming from Scotland in the winter is quite a big change, getting used to the heat,” said Kathryn. “But we did everything we could in preparation and we’ve been really lucky to have a few extra days to get used to it so we can feel a bit more comfortable when we get out to play the matches.”
“I’m very happy,” said Mark. “We had an open wicket, 28-over game in 34 degree heat which got us acclimatised pretty quickly, and I was delighted by the way in which the girls went about their business. I can safely say that that was the best session that I’ve seen since I’ve been involved: the intensity, the fearlessness – it was a very, very good practice.
“The key now is to keep improving on that, to get that one percent better every day, but it was a very good start.”
Scotland’s opening game is against Sri Lanka, the highest-ranked team in the competition, in what will be the first meeting between the two countries. As well as hosts Malaysia and fellow Associate side Kenya, the Scots then face further Full Member opposition in Bangladesh, a side they last played at the 2019 T20 World Cup Qualifier in Dundee. A defeat on Duckworth-Lewis ended Scotland’s hopes that day, but with franchise experience in the squad and well as last year’s success to build on, the team taking the field at the Kinrara Academy Oval will be a very different prospect to the one which came up short at Forthill.
“We’ve taken a lot of confidence and belief from [La Manga] in knowing that we can do it,” said Kathryn. “It shows how we’ve developed over the last couple of years and just how far we’ve come. Even from the couple of tournaments we played last year, we’re bringing a lot of confidence into this even though we know it’s going to be a pretty big challenge.
“But it’s a really exciting opportunity. There’s no expectation on us to come out on top, so we can just go out there and play cricket in the way that we want to, and express ourselves with that confidence behind us.”
All matches will be live-streamed via icc.tv and live-scored on icc-cricket.com.
18th January: Scotland v Sri Lanka (5.15am UK time)
19th January: Scotland v Malaysia (5.15am UK time)
22nd January: Scotland v Kenya (1.30am UK time)
23rd January: Scotland v Bangladesh (1.30am UK time)
Abbi Aitken-Drummond; Kathyrn Bryce (c); Sarah Bryce (wk); Priyanaz Chatterji; Katherine Fraser; Lorna Jack; Ailsa Lister; Abtaha Maqsood; Megan McColl; Katie McGill ;Hannah Rainey; Charis Scott; Rachel Slater; Ellen Watson
Non Travelling Reserve:
Mark Coles (Head Coach); Gemaal Hussain (Asst Coach); Sue Strachan (Team Manager); Charlotte Dalton-Howells (S&C and Analyst); Lorna Flanagan (Physio)