Scotland’s men took an important win in their ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 qualifying campaign as they beat tournament leaders Oman by 18 runs in Muscat. Shane Burger’s team now face a quick turnaround before their day night match tomorrow (Wednesday) against Papua New Guinea.
“In terms of a win, that was unbelievable and one hell of a game of cricket,” said Burger. “The thing that makes me most proud is the connection on the field and off the field in terms of helping one another whether they were in the playing 11 or not, I saw an unbelievable squad and team effort today that made sure we won that game. Yes, we know there are areas that we can keep getting better in and we could have done one or two things differently and better, but in the bigger scheme of things I am just incredibly proud of this unit to go and beat Oman in their own conditions.
“When we were under pressure, we held our nerve, and our calm and guys stuck their hands up. I thought Richie Berrington and Dylan Budge were exceptional with that partnership they put on at the end. It was interesting to see Oman’s tactics how they took on the seamers and played out the spinners. Our spinners did an incredible job. I thought Mark Watt was probably the outstanding bowler on the day. Safyaan Sharif held his nerve at the end and showed why he is one of the best death bowlers around. All in all, I’m incredibly proud and very happy and we move forward to tomorrow where we have to put in a clinical display against PNG.”
Kyle Coetzer won the toss for Scotland and elected to bat first, a decision which seemed to be vindicated as his side put up a strong total of 273/6 in 50 overs. Each of the Scotland top order batters posted totals over 25, with the captain leading the way early on, scoring 60 before his departure in the 24th over. But it was Berrington who played the innings of the match, narrowly missing out on a century when he was run out for 97, a knock which included five sixes, while being backed up by Budge.
It seemed like Scotland could make short work of the game when Watt struck in the first over before Oman had even scored a run, but the Omani batters dug in after that early wobble and proved difficult for the Scotland bowlers. Jatinder Singh and Atib Ilyaas put on 100 runs before Hamza Tahir and Chris Sole struck in consecutive overs to dismiss the dangerous pairing.
Ahead of the match Burger had predicted that Oman would have strength in depth through the batting order and that was proven true as the home side showed the potential to threaten Scotland’s total.
Despite only getting one wicket for his efforts, Watt was the pick of the bowlers having just 22 runs taken off his ten overs, which included 5 maidens. Sole took 3 for 79 from nine overs while there was a wicket each for Safyaan Sharif, Michael Leask, Calum Macleod and Tahir.
Coetzer said: “We knew we had a good score on the board. We knew we had a good opportunity there. Fair play to the Omani batsmen they attacked us the whole way. A lot of credit must go to Richie Berrington and Dylan Budge for the way they played. They took our score to another level. The way they ran they put their bodies on the line in this extreme heat. Then it was an outstanding effort by Mark Watt with the ball, especially against good players of spin bowling. For our players to come here and bowl like that against a team who are good at playing spin bowling is a very proud feeling.”
Scotland are back in action tomorrow in their second game against Papua New Guinea, starting at 11.30am UK time.