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Cricket news - Kinrara's redemption and Scotland's untimely rise

Kuala Lumpur's flagship ground, the Kinrara Oval at Puchong, was previously under threat

The Malaysian cricket community can breathe a sigh of relief. Since October last year when the news broke that Kuala Lumpur's flagship ground, the Kinrara Oval at Puchong, was under threat. Those fighting a grassroots campaign to save the stadium could only wonder if their efforts would prove futile as developers Perumahan Kinrara Berhad stood poised to reclaim the ground.

With the MCA's 15-year lease at an end and PKB maintaining that the board were in rent arrears, it seemed as though the facility, which also serves as the MCA's base of operations and a something of a hub for cricket in the region, might have hosted its last match. The news prompted expressions of dismay not only from the local cricket, and expressions of concern and support from across the cricketing world from players and officials with fond memories of the ground, not least the West Indies great Brian Lara.

A protracted process of consultations followed, with the ICC making known its concerns and the Malaysian Sports Minister Syed Saddiq stepping in to mediate between the parties. It now appears that a deal of some sort has been brokered to preserve the ground, and though there remain details to be worked out it appears the ICC is sufficiently confident in the security of the stadium's future to award Malaysia hosting rights for two upcoming competitions. With both the Asian T20 WC Qualifying finals and the U19 Asia Division 1 tournaments headed to Malaysia, it looks as though the ground will see plenty of action this year.

If Kinrara remains one of the finest facilities in the Associate world, Oman's new complex at Al-Amerat outside of Muscat is making a strong case for inclusion on that list. The complex has seen plenty of traffic since hosting the successful World Cricket League Division 3 in November last year, welcoming its first full-status internationals as six T20I debutants contested the ACC Western Region T20 last month, and now playing host to the Associate top-tier together with a Full Member as Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands took a break from the European winter to contest the T20 Quadrangular last week, with Scotland staying on to play three one-dayers against the hosts. Though technical teething problems meant live video coverage of the series was intermittent at best, highlights and scorecards both attested that the ground staff had the fundamentals down.

Despite an opening loss to the Dutch, Scotland came back to claim the title, adding it to their triumph at last Summer's European Tri-Series and reinforcing their claim to the title of leading Associate on the field. In the last two years, the Scots have bagged white-ball wins over full members Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Afghanistan and number-one-ranked England, and but for some egregiously poor umpiring and a lack of DRS at the World Cup Qualifier in March, they might have added the West Indies to that list, and earned themselves a place at this year's World Cup in the process.

As it stands they will have to contend themselves with such bilaterals as they can arrange, and the series of trilateral events provided by CWC League 2, the top-tier of Associate competition under the ICC's revised international competition structure. Their climb to the top of the Associate pile came just a little too late to earn them a place in the new structure's premier competition, instead it will be their European rivals the Netherlands, as Champions of the last-ever World Cricket League Championship, who will join the Full Members in the Super-League.

Scotland's recent string of stellar performances may make the Netherlands' getting the nod look like an oddity in retrospect, and it's fair to say the Scots had their share of misfortune during the three-year WCLC campaign that saw them finish three points adrift as runners-up to the Dutch, with poor weather dogging them throughout. Yet on the other hand, in the same period as the Scots put together their remarkable run against full member opposition, they have lost at the hands of Papua New Guinea, Namibia, the UAE, Hong Kong, and now of course the Netherlands themselves.

If Scotland's successes show clearly that the gap between the top Associates and lower-ranked full-members is essentially illusory, neither is there any huge rift between Scotland and the rest of the Associate pack. Scotland's exclusion from the game's pinnacle event this summer is an obvious injustice, which the manner of their undoing against the West Indies in Harare set in blindly sharp relief. No doubt the tournament will be the poorer for their absence, but not only theirs.

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