Head coach Shane Burger praised his side’s performance in tricky conditions as they started their four-match Cricket World Cup League 2 series in Oman with a solid six-wicket victory over Papua New Guinea, led by Player of the Match Matthew Cross’ 70 runs.
Scotland had not played a One Day International since May, but made the most of their opportunities in temperatures which reached 37 degrees, putting in strong performances with the bat, ball and in the field to add two points to their tally in the Cricket World Cup qualifying standings.
“I’m extremely happy with us winning the first game and really chuffed with the performance that the boys put in today, especially in the hot condtions,” said Burger. “As much as you prepare back home, it’s never quite like being in the real thing and so being out there today was a bit of a shock to the system, but the boys came through it well.
“We bowled well at stages and managed to keep getting wickets which was key, but we know there’s a lot of areas we need to keep improving in. It was really good to see the seamers work in tandem and then our spinners come in and do a great job. In the field there were also two superb catches by Ally Evans, which was a game changing moment, and Calum Macleod.
“From a batting point of view, getting off to a good start like we did was really encouraging. I thought that Matthew Cross was outstanding to play the way he did. To wicket keep for the whole innings and then go out and open the batting is a really tough ask and he did it with flying colours and played superbly.
“It was great to see us finish the game so clinically. Looking ahead with the game against Oman on Tuesday we’re in a good place. We know we have to take a lot from this game. There are still areas we have to improve in, but we’ll take a lot of heart from this and I’m really happy that we had a stretch game of cricket in the heat which will leave us in a good place moving forward.”
Captain Kyle Coetzer won the toss and elected to bowl first. His choice was vindicated as Safyaan Sharif took the first wicket of the day in the second over dismissing Tony Ura for 2. Ally Evans and Gavin Main were also key to the brisk start taking a wicket each as PNG found themselves three wickets down after 10 overs.
Scotland seemed to be in full control of the match as spinners Mark Watt and Hamza Tahir joined the attack, with Tahir, taking three quick wickets to reduce PNG to 92/6 after 20 overs. But the tailenders put up a fight as Chad Soper and Damien Ravu scored 78 runs between them, reaching 197 before being bowled out. Main dismissing Ravu to take his tally to 3 for 33 off 8 overs.
Scotland’s opening partnership of Cross and Coetzer put on 78 runs before the captain was dismissed for 23. Cross was eventually out to a stumping after reaching 70. But with plenty of experience in the top order, Scotland did not falter in the chase, as Macleod scored 45 and George Munsey, who took his side spectacularly over the winning line with a six, ended on 27 not out.
Scotland return to action on Tuesday against Oman in a match that begins at 6.30am UK time.