Scotland back on track
SCOTLAND yesterday rekindled their Twenty20 World Cup qualifying bid with an emphatic seven-wicket win over Kenya at The Grange.
In the wake of weekend defeats to main Group B rivals Netherlands and Kenya, victory was imperative and, after a slightly nervous start with the ball, they got the job done with 5.1 overs to spare.
Chasing 142, Scotland suffered an early setback when Kyle Coetzer was bowled by Elijah Otieno before a run had been scored.
However, the Scots soon took charge with Calum MacLeod and Matthew Cross going on the offensive to hit a spate of boundaries.
MacLeod hit four of them before being bowled by Lucas Ndandason for 21 but George Munsey scored even more rapidly.
Dropped down the order, the Grange man was especially strong with the reverse sweep, three of them finding the rope in one James Ngoche over.
He had raced to 35 from only twenty-one deliveries, adding one maximum to his six fours, before picking out Morris Ouma in the deep.
Cross, who survived two chances, made the most of his good fortune to finish unbeaten on 45 while Richie Berrington launched two big sixes in his 34no.
Earlier Scotland lost the toss for the third match in a row and again found themselves bowling against a side that came flying out of the blocks.
Irfan Karim set the tone by smashing Safyaan Sharif for back-to-back maximums in the second over while the same player pulled Ali Evans expansively over deep square leg as the Kenyans rattled along.
Evans made the breakthrough when he had Narendra Patel caught on the boundary by Michael Leask but the wicket failed to apply the brakes.
Instead Rob Taylor, in his first tournament match, was greeted into the attack by an onslaught from Nehemiah Odhiambo who hit two boundaries and one maximum in an over which yielded 17 runs.
Taylor took his revenge when Odhiambo sent a full toss towards Sharif who completed a fine catch at long-off as Kenya completed the power-play on 65-2.
The introduction of spin saw Scotland claim the initiative as Leask brought Karim's run-spree to an end courtesy of MacLeod's catch.
He had made 46 from twenty-six deliveries with three boundaries and the same number of maximums and his departure was timely for the Scots.
Leask struck again two balls later as Collins Obuya holed-out to Munsey on the deep mid-wicket boundary.
Having made 71-4 from their first eight overs, Kenya were able to add just 70 more from their remaining twelve as the boundaries dried up.
Only one more wicket fell, Con de Lange bowling Rakep Patel for 26 while Morris Ouma finished unbeaten on 36.
Cross, the former Aberdeenshire batsman, said: “After the weekend it was vital to win and we've done it well.
“They got off to a flier with the bat but we were always confident we would pull it back in the middle overs and the spinners were awesome.
“My innings was a bit scratchy and George and Richie were hitting it superbly so I just fiddled around them and tried to make sure I was there at the end.”
The Scots are now back on course to finish second in the group and Cross added: “We are just aiming to win all our games from now on.”
Scotland's cause was helped by Oman's surprise win over Netherlands who won few friends when they failed to observe the traditional courtesy of attending the post-match presentation.