World Cup 2015: Associate Nation Watch - Scotland
Scotland qualified for the World Cup by finishing on top of the Super Six table in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers tournament. They went on to win the tournament by defeating UAE in the final later on. This will be Scotland’s third appearance in the World Cup, after 1999 and 2007.
Scotland are drawn into Pool A, with Australia, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. With zero wins in their record books, Scotland have had a rough time in their previous outings in this global tournament and will be looking to right a few wrongs this time around.
The World Cup Story
Scotland’s first appearance was in the 1999 World Cup, where they co-hosted with fellow Great Britain peers, England and Wales. It was an extremely dissatisfying outing for the Scots as they failed to score more than 181 in any of the five matches and also suffered a loss against fellow minnows and debutants, Bangladesh.
Gavin Hamilton did pretty well with the bat throughout the tournament. He was the team’s top scorer in all matches, but one, which even earned him a Test cap for England, albeit an extremely forgettable one.
Getting back to the global stage after a hiatus of 8 years, Scotland would have hoped to cleanse the memories of 1999 in the 2007 tournament. Unfortunately for them, they were drawn in a group with South Africa, Australia, and the Netherlands.
History repeated itself as they didn’t manage to score more than 186 in a single match. There were no major individual performances and the team suffered on the dry West Indian pitches. Hamilton failed this time around with scores of 3, 4 and 4 and it obviously wasn’t enough for him to earn a second Test cap.
Now, back after a gap of 8 more years, Scotland will be hoping to perform much better and notch up their maiden World Cup win.
Captained by their best batsman, Preston Mommsen, and Kyle Coetzer donning the deputy’s hat, the Scottish squad is a nimble mix of youth and experience. The backroom staff of Grant Bradburn, a former New Zealand Test cricketer, and Paul Collingwood will certainly benefit the squad immensely.
Scotland have significant experience in the form of a few players being regulars in English county teams. Kyle Coetzer plays for Northamptonshire, Rob Taylor plies his trade for Leicestershire, Matt Machan for Sussex, and Iain Wardlaw for Yorkshire. Majid Haq, an experienced offie with 50 international caps under his belt will also be a vital cog in the Scottish machinery.
Mommsen will be their best bet with the bat. He, as the 2014 ICC Associate and Affiliate player of the year, will have a point to prove at the grandest stage of them all. He comes to the tournament with strong numbers behind him, as he was the leading run-scorer in the ICC World Cup qualifying tournament with 520 runs at an average of 88.86.
Riche Berrington will be another player to watch out for. The first Scot batsman to score a T20I century, he will be looking to drop some jaws in the tournament. Matt Machan and Hamish Gardiner have also been among the runs in recent tournaments. Right-arm medium pacers Iain Wardlaw and Josh Davey will be looking to lead the way in the bowling department.
What to expect in 2015
If one had to pick an associate team that is more likely to cause an upset or two, Ireland and Scotland will be the forerunners. Scotland’s flair and skills were all in attendance during their warm-up victory against Ireland. They bludgeoned their way to 296, thanks to Machan’s belligerent century, before knocking Ireland out for a paltry 117. Alasdair Evans, with 4 for 17, was the pick of the bowlers. They have warmed up for the real deal in the best way possible.
The Scots begin their campaign against co-hosts New Zealand on February 17, followed by a match against arch-rivals England on February 23. They, then, play Bangladesh and Afghanistan in back-to-back matches, which will also be their best chance at notching up a couple of wins. With Sri Lanka and Australia to follow, they should be happy with a good showing in their remaining matches.
If they play to their potential and pull up a few right strings, Scotland will manage to seize their maiden World Cup victory, and put forth a few memorable minnow performances.