ICC World Cup 2015: Moeen Ali stars in England's 119-run win over Scotland
Christchurch, Feb 23 (IANS) Moeen Ali's superb all-round show helped England outplay Scotland by 119 runs in a World Cup Pool A game at the Hagley Oval here on Monday.
Left-hander Ali scored his second One-Day International (ODI) to power England to 303/8. Chasing the big total, Scotland batting wilted under the pressure exerted by James Anderson (2/30), Steven Finn (3/26) and Chris Woakes (2/25). Scotland were bowled out for 184 runs in 42.2 overs.
Ali contributed with the ball as he picked up the two crucial wickets of opener Kyle Coetzer (71) and Richie Berrington (8). With this win, England registered their first win of the 14-nation tournament. They had earlier been thrashed by Australia and New Zealand.
Their batting was a major cause of concern, but on Monday, they ensured that their main batsmen got some confidence back ahead of the more crucial matches. Left-hander Ali and fellow opener Ian Bell (54) provided a dream start. They registered a 172-run partnership to put Scotland on the backfoot.
After scoring just nine runs in three overs, Ali started the onslaught with two boundaries and a six over mid-off in the fourth over bowled by right-arm medium pacer Josh Davey. Continuing his aggression, Ali carted Alasdair Evans for two more fours in the next over. He completed his fifty in 39 deliveries and looked on course for a big score.
Meanwhile, right-hander Bell also compiled his half-century in 80 balls. The 32-year-old, who is the highest run-scorer for his country in ODI history, notched up his 32nd fifty. Ali took the attack to off-spinner Majid Haq, hitting him for two sixes - his second one giving him his second century in 91 balls. Berrington was also pulverised all over the park by Ali.
Bell offered a catch at cover off a Haq delivery in the 31st over. The 27-year-old Ali also followed him soon as he slogged a Haq delivery straight into the hands of Freddie Coleman at deep midwicket. His 107-ball 128 knock comprised 12 hits to the fence and five over it.
England captain Eoin Morgan showed signs of returning to form as the left-hander looked good during his 46-run knock of 42 balls. He along with Jos Buttler (14-ball 24) ensured that England crossed the 300-run mark.
For Scotland, Davey was the pick of the bowler, taking 4/68. Iain Wadlaw, Evans, Haq, Berrington took a wicket apiece. However, Scotland failed to defend the total as they were reduced to 54/3 till 11.4 overs. Opener Calum McLeod, Coleman, Matt Machan fell early to leave the team reeling.
Preston Mommsen (26) joined Coetzer in the middle and the duo stitched a 50-run partnership for the fourth wicket before the former perished to spinner Joe Root.
Coetzer ran out of partners and his lonely battle came to end when he came down the ground only to get a top edge of an Ali delivery. The ball landed in the hands of Woakes at long on that left Scotland 122/5 in 26.3 overs.
Afterwards, it was just a matter of doing the needful for England.
Brief Scores: England 303/8 (Moeen Ali 128, Ian Bell 54; Josh Davey 4/68), Scotland 184 in 42.2 overs (Kyle Coetzer 71; Steven Finn 3/26, Chris Woakes 2/25). England win by 119 runs.