Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Scotland down high-flying Oman in League 2 clash. [File photo] Richie Berrington fell three short of a century but his team recorded a crucial victory
[File photo] Richie Berrington fell three short of a century but his team recorded a crucial victory
Scotland closed out a hard-fought 18-run victory over hosts Oman in the third match of the seventh CWC League 2 tri-series in Muscat, narrowing the gap with the frontrunners by two crucial points.
Richie Berrington fell three runs short of a much-deserved century as Scotland posted 273-6 after electing to bat. The Scottish spinners then strangled the chase in the middle overs after Jatinder Singh and Aqib Ilyas put on a century stand for the second wicket. They also held off a late fightback from Sandeep Goud to cling on for an 18-run win.
Scottish captain Kyle Coetzer got his side off to a strong start after winning the toss, building half-century partnerships with Matthew Cross and Calum MacLeod before he became the third wicket to fall for a 63-ball 60. Oman skipper Zeeshan Maqsood himself opened the bowling with his left arm spin, but the gambit did not pay off. He went for 10 runs in the first over as Cross and Coetzer made hay in the PowerPlay.
Maqsood soon reverted to the pace pairing of Bilal Khan and Kaleemullah and eventually the latter would find the breakthrough – Cross pinned LBW for 25 on the 2nd ball of the 10th against the run of play. Coetzer would be joined by Macleod with the score on 54-1 and dominate the scoring in another half-century stand, taking Scotland to three figures with a lofted drive inside out over cover off Khan for six, before recording his own fifty, tucking legspinner Khawar Ali to leg for a single next over.
Coetzer would lose another partner on the next ball however, MacLeod pinned on the back foot by Ali and struck on the pad in front of off. Coetzer would again collect six over cover on the first ball of Khan's next over, but would fail to get the elevation looking to repeat the shot a third time, slamming it straight to short extra cover. George Munsey and Berrington steadied the ship, adding another 56 runs for the 4th wicket to lay a fine platform with the score at 175-3. But Munsey didn't profit from it, holing out off Maqsood as he looked to accelerate.
The wicket did not prevent the late blitz however, as Dylan Budge would join Berrington and the pair would capitalise on Munsey's work, adding 98 more runs in the next 10 overs. But Berrington was run out for 97 on the penultimate ball of the innings, coming back for an impossible second, looking to retain the strike. Michael Leask would suffer the same fate, apparently unaware of Budge's intent to run a bye to the keeper, but with 273 on the board the tourists will have been happy enough with their work at the break.
Scotland also elected to open with left arm spin, and the gambit paid off for them on the second ball of the chase as Kashyap Prajapati edged Mark Watt behind for a two-ball duck.
Jatinder Singh seemed undeterred however, and in typical buccaneering style would compile a run-a-ball 64 to add 101 for the second wicket with Aaqib Ilyas. Singh took full advantage of the powerplay, ramping the seamers to good effect, Chris Sole coming in for particular punishment. Coetzer reverting to spin at both ends slowed the scoring somewhat, but Singh was happy to deploy both conventional and reverse sweeps to Hamza Tahir and Leask. The 100-run partnership came up in exactly 20 overs with Singh slog sweeping Watt over the square leg fence.
Tahir found the breakthrough in the next over, however, as Ilyas missed a sweep and was trapped in front for 33. As in Scotland's innings, one wicket quickly brought another. Sole had his revenge on Singh with the first ball of the 22nd, who flashed at a fullish delivery wide of off and bottom-edged the ball onto his stumps.
Maqsood was joined by Suraj Kumar, but the latter was effectively tied down by the Scottish slow bowlers. With the asking rate climbing to over a run-a-ball, Kumar would succumb to the pressure and look to clear mid-off, hitting Sole into the wind, but the ball would swirl down well short of the rope and be safely held by Budge.
The successful introduction on Calum MacLeod's offspin compounded matters with Maqsood edging MacLeod's second ball through to Cross to leave Oman in trouble at 123-5. Coetzer's bowling changes continued to pay off as Michael Leask became the fourth Scottish bowler to take a wicket with the first ball of a spell when he had Khan caught at slip to reduce the hosts to 145-6.
A needless run-out saw Khawar Ali depart five overs later, and by then the asking rate was approaching 10-an-over. The return of Chris Sole in the 40th marked the start of the belated fightback from the eighth-wicket pair Sandeep Goud and Naseem Kushi, as yet another no-ball was dispatched for six over the on side by Kushi, before Goud put Sole over the rope three balls later.
16 runs would come off the 40th, and when Kushi slog-swept Leask for back to back sixes to start the 41st, Oman looked set to reclaim the initiative. Leask finished the over well however, and Mark Watt continued to prove hard to hit, eventually finishing his 10 overs with figures of 1 for 22. A slower ball from Sole finally did for Kushi in the 45th over with 65 runs still needed.
Goud and Kaleemullah kept hitting with enough success to keep the Scots nervous. Kaleemullah smashed Sharif for two towering sixes down the ground in the 46th and Goud survived a missed stumping off Watt, only to launch the next ball over long on for six more. Some combination of nerves and heat started to tell at the death as the Scottish fielding became increasingly ragged, Leask shelling a simple chance off Sharif coming in off the cover boundary to reprieve Kaleemullah. But the big fast bowler would squander his luck going too deep in the crease four balls later and treading on his own stumps.
Coetzer entrusted Sole with the penultimate over, with 31 still needed. He was made to regret it when Goud put the first two balls away for six and four to complete his half century. But he could not lay bat on ball for the rest of the over, only a wide adding to the score. With 20 needed off the last over, Bilal Khan managed to get Goud on strike with a single off the first, but that would be the last scoring shot of the innings. Goud repeatedly turned down singles looking for a boundary that never came.
A despairing slog on the final ball looking to clear deep point was shelled in the deep, but by then the game was gone. Scotland clinged on despite an unconvincing showing in the field, closing the gap with Oman by two crucial points.
Oman and Scotland will meet again in the final ODI of the series on Saturday, but each first have a rematch against Papua New Guinea, on Friday and Wednesday respectively.
Brief Scores: Scotland 273/6 in 50 overs (Richie Berrington 97, Kyle Coetzer 60; Ayan Khan 1-37) beat Oman 255/9 in 50 overs (Jatinder Singh 64, Sandeep Goud 54*; Chris Sole 3-79) by 18 runs