Scotland defeat UAE again
Scotland moved into second place in the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Championship with a second win in three days over United Arab Emirates at The Grange in Edinburgh. UAE were left to rue an under par performance with the bat as they were dismissed for 228 in 45.4 overs, Scotland chasing down the total on the back of a record third wicket partnership between Calum MacLeod and Preston Mommsen. MacLeod scored a magnificent 103, with Mommsen contributing an unbeaten 80, as the target was reached with twenty balls to spare.
The Scots gave Chris Sole his ODI debut in place of Josh Davey, recalled by Somerset in readiness for their Royal London Cup quarter final tie on Wednesday, as Richie Berrington made his fiftieth ODI appearance. UAE also made one change to their side from the previous match with slow left-armer Fayyaz Ahmed coming into the side in place of Krishnachandran Karate.
Having watched Scotland pile on early runs in their previous meeting UAE needed to get away to a positive start, and after choosing to bat after winning the toss both openers were in aggressive mood as 21 came from the first three overs. Scotland pegged them back with an early breakthrough in the fourth, however, as Laxman Sreeumar (16) drove straight to Michael Leask to give Safyaan Sharif his first wicket of the innings. Five overs later Rohan Mustafa (19) followed, caught by wicketkeeper Matthew Cross to give Chris Sole a debut wicket and leave UAE 58-2 as Scotland took control.
With both openers back in the pavilion run scoring slowed to a trickle in the face of well-directed Scottish bowling, and when Mohammad Shahzad (21) was dismissed feathering a Sharif delivery through to Cross the UAE innings was in danger of grinding to a halt. Con de Lange was particularly miserly and with the hundred coming up off the final ball of the twenty-third over an injection of energy was desperately needed.
Mohammad Usman was fortunate to see his hook narrowly clear Ali Evans on the deep square leg boundary as he and Shaiman Anwar looked to do just that, and the pair began to play more expansively as the seamers returned. The improving run rate came at a cost, however, as first Usman (43) pulled a short delivery from Evans straight to MacLeod at midwicket and then Anwar was caught on the deep cover boundary by Sharif for a well-made 63. When the incoming Amjad Javed mistimed his first ball from de Lange, Berrington taking a superb catch at silly mid-off, the batting side was in deep trouble at 188-6 in the thirty-fifth.
Rameez Shahzad had come into the ODI matches on the back of an unbeaten 74 in the abandoned I-Cup match in Ayr, and after contributing 15 to the faltering UAE run-chase on Sunday he looked to be positive from the off, taking consecutive boundaries off MacLeod before hoisting Michael Leask for a big maximum. The temptation of the short ball was to prove too much, however, as he was caught by Berrington at backward point for 33 to give the excellent Sharif his third scalp of the day.
A third wicket for Chris Sole, too, was to follow in the next over, Mohammad Naveed top-edging a catch to Preston Mommsen, before Evans claimed the final wicket of the innings, Ahmed Raza top-edged his attempted hook to a tumbling Kyle Coetzer at deep fine leg as UAE fell away to 228 all out.
With a required run rate of less than five an over there was no need for anything rash from Scotland but their reply got off to a faltering start as Craig Wallace (6) attempted to sweep Naveed in the third over, the top-edge finding Usman at third man. Coetzer was also caught looking to attack, his miscue off Mohammad Shahzad juggled successfully by Javed at long-on to get UAE back into the game.
In a chase that was beginning to look less straightforward what was needed was for someone to put their foot on the ball, to borrow a footballing cliché, and anchor the innings. Preston Mommsen, along with Coetzer a centurion last time out, began watchfully, working the ball around for singles and well-run twos. At the other end MacLeod went through his repertoire of shots, bringing up Scotland's 100 with a reverse-swept boundary in the twenty-fourth before reaching his half-century two overs later.
Runs were flowing more easily now and with wickets in hand and both batsmen well set the game slipped further away from the visitors. Mommsen added to his unbeaten hundred last time out with an 81-ball half-century as the two continued to milk the bowling, with MacLeod adding a languid six over deep midwicket off the bowling of Ahmed for good measure. The Durham batsman moved into the nineties with his third maximum of the innings and he duly completed an outstanding hundred with a dabbed single to third man.
MacLeod's century, his third in ODIs, featured six boundaries and three sixes, and came in 119 balls. Three balls later his innings was to come to an end as Naveed's yorker got through, but the 165-run partnership had secured the game and MacLeod left the field to an appreciative reception. It was left to Mommsen and Berrington to take Scotland home, with Berrington (15*) sweeping the winning runs in the forty-eighth over.
Scotland's victory, coming after Netherlands surprise defeat to Nepal, closed the gap at the top of the WCL to a single point. Defeat, meanwhile, leaves UAE rooted to the bottom of the table.