Scotland are still in search of their first Super 12 victory at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup after losing to Namibia by four wickets in Abu Dhabi. Marking the first time that two ICC Associate Member teams have met at this stage of the World Cup, it was expected to be a closely-fought contest. But Scotland, playing without Kyle Coetzer who sustained a finger injury in the win over Oman, made the worst possible start losing three batters in the first four balls as George Munsey, Calum MacLeod and captain Richie Berrington all went for ducks at the hands of Ruben Trumpelmann.
When Craig Wallace, making his first appearance in this World Cup, went for four in the fifth over, things were looking dire for the Scots. But in-form Michael Leask brought the match under control linking up well with Matthew Cross and then Chris Greaves on his way to scoring 44 off 27 balls. From a poor start, Scotland finished the 20 overs on 109/8.
With a modest total to defend, the Scots worked well to restrict Namibia to 29/1 at the end of the powerplay, under the required run rate. Namibia losing Michael van Linden in the fifth over as Safyaan Sharif forced him to play across his pad, sending a leading edge straight into the hands of Berrington.
Scotland’s spinners continued their good form, working their way through the Namibia top order to reduce them to 67/4 after 13 overs and put themselves in with a chance of salvaging a result, but veteran David Wiese (16) and JJ Smit (32no) did enough to see their team over the winning line. Leask the leading wicket-taker for Scotland with 2 for 12.
Head Coach Shane Burger admitted that his side’s performance with the bat had left them with too much to do.
“I’m very disappointed with the performance. Credit to Namibia first and foremost for the way they started the game. I thought their bowling with the new ball was exceptional and then also the way they finished the innings. They restricted us to 21/5 in the first four overs and in the final four overs. To only score 21/5 in those eight overs is probably what led to us not maybe get there in the end.
“I thought our bowling and fielding was on a par if not better, but defending that sort of total is very tough. It wasn’t the easiest of wickets, but it certainly wasn’t a 109 wicket and we have to do many things better. We do know that and we’ll certainly use the next five or six days to make sure we’re nailing those things that we have to improve.
“The key is to keep the spirit and the connection within the group high. Two losses in a row isn’t going to break that. We will keep believing that we can go out and beat one of these big teams in the next three games and that’s a goal that we still have in our mind.”
Despite the loss Berrington insisted that his side would continue to show the same spirit that they’ve demonstrated throughout the competition so far: “One of the strengths of the team is the character and the fight that we show. It’s not every day that you get to be at a World Cup so we have to keep enjoying it. We have to keep believing and keep looking to improve. We haven’t played as well as we know we can. We have to look to regroup and come back stronger. We’re always looking to improve and we’ll certainly look to keep doing that.”
Scotland return to action on Wednesday when they face New Zealand at 10am UK time in Dubai.