Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - World Cup qualifier loss to West Indies central to Scotland's growth, says Coetzer. "I don't think there's ever been a game of cricket I've thought about as much as that West Indies loss"
"I don't think there's ever been a game of cricket I've thought about as much as that West Indies loss"
Scotland have entered the second round of the ongoing T20 WC at the back of three successive victory, including a win over Bangladesh. Only three years ago, the team had lost to West Indies in the ICC 2019 World Cup qualifiers and failed to make it to the main tournament. In the rain-marred encounter, the Kyle Coetzer-led side fell six runs short of the target. It's the hurt that hasn't left them as yet, and spurred them on till now.
However, a lot has changed since then – in their preparation, their performances and their fortunes. “I think sometimes you need those disappointments to really spur us on,” Kyle Coetzer said on Sunday. “I don't think there's ever been a game of cricket I've thought about as much as that West Indies loss, and I think that framed a lot of the way we changed the way we trained, trained in a little bit more specific ways about key moments and winning things.
“It started with Grant, and then Shane has come in and carried that on brilliantly, to a stage now where some of these key moments that happen in games that we don't even probably think about as much as we might have used to, and I think that shows in the way that we're playing.
“Guys are playing with so much clarity and confidence and a smile on their face that we want those moments. We want to be in those moments, and each one of us wants to be the guy that stands up and wins that game for the team. I think that's just the maturity of the squad being together for a number of years now, that we know each other well and we know how each other is going to win the game. I think that's just the way the team has matured.”
The early success in the tournament has already brought joy for those involved with the game in Scotland. “All of Cricket Scotland has been waiting for this sort of moment where we do it on the world stage and show just how good we are and how much passion there is for the game in Scotland,” Macleod said. “There's so many clubs and so many different people involved from junior ages all the way up to the senior men's and women's teams that have gotten involved in pushing this organisation forward.I think everybody was just ecstatic and excited to see us go on to the Super 12s and show what we've got.
“The family were delighted, even if it means being away for a bit longer. Yeah, mom and dad were obviously very proud, and they've helped me a lot since I first started with Cricket Scotland at age 11, and then my wife and my young son were delighted, as well.”
Despite the delight, the tournament is far from over. For Scotland to impose their authority against the best teams in the world, they have five more opportunities in their Group B clashes. First up against them in their round two campaign of the world cup will be Afghanistan, who will play them on Monday in Sharjah.
Even as they are set to play in the small Sharjah ground, the slow nature of the pitches will make Afghanistan's strong spin-led bowling attack lethal for Scotland's ambitions to continue their winning run. However, MacLeod believes the way to counter Rashid Khan and Co will be to go on the offensive and not allow their possible three-pronged attack – Rashid, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb ur Rahman – to dictate terms.
“The biggest thing is you have to try and put the pressure back on them. I think like all the top-class teams that you play against, if you let the bowlers just bowl at you, their skills will be too good for you over a period, so I think you have to find a method of putting the pressure back on them, whether that be with sweeping or coming down the wicket, whatever your method is about it, and I think you've got to stick to it and be pretty disciplined to go with it.”
While Scotland were able to work out the conditions well in Scotland, they will have to readjust their plans to the conditions in UAE. With the ball, Josh Davey had led the way in the powerplay and the death overs, picking three and five wickets in the respective phase in three matches of Round 1. Mark Watt had provided the support in the middle overs with his restrictive left-arm spin. One of the areas of change Scotland would be required to make would be the attack at the top of the order, which should provide the hard-hitting George Munsey a free license.
“I think it's going to be a fascinating matchup,” Macleod believes. “I think it will help both our batters and challenge the bowlers in a different way. I think Oman, the pitch was maybe not quite so conducive to the powerplay for the batters, so I think as a batting unit we're going to have to change quickly to what a par score in the powerplay is going to be, and our bowlers are going to be put under some definite pressure.
“But I think these are three seamers who we've relied on so far, even if Mark Watt has to bowl in the powerplay, as well. I think we've got a unit who can swing the ball that can bowl with definite skills who hopefully will be able to challenge what is a dangerous Afghanistan top order and hopefully come out on top,” he concluded.