Scotland complete convincing win in Sharjah
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
THEY were made to work hard in the end but Scotland yesterday completed a morale-boosting Intercontinental Cup win over UAE at the Sharjah Stadium.
Having dismissed their hosts for 100 on day one before opening up a 205-run lead, the Saltires may have had their eyes on an innings victory. However, they spent the whole of Saturday in the field and were finally set a potentially tricky victory target of 114 yesterday.
Following a minor scare which saw them slump to 40-3, they clinched their first win of the campaign with seven wickets to spare and it was apt that their two biggest heroes – Majid Haq and Richie Berrington – were together at the end. Haq sent down a marathon 57.2 overs during the match while claiming five wickets while Berrington, of course, recorded his maiden First Class century.
Having seen Ewan Chalmers, Ryan Flannigan and Preston Mommsen depart cheaply, the pair refused to panic, simply waiting for any loose deliveries and dispatching them clinically.
Berrington top-scored again, facing 60 balls for his 42 which included five boundaries and a six. However, Haq's 39 runs were just as important and it was the Clydesdale player who finished the match with a flourish when hitting Saqib Ali's delivery over the boundary for his second maximum.
Earlier, the Scottish bowlers had stuck to their task to claim the UAE's final three wickets with a minimum of fuss. Gordon Goudie's late three-wicket burst on Saturday had done the bulk of the damage, particularly when he had top scorer Saqib caught by Chalmers for 76.
Amjad Javed and Fayyaz Ahmed did their best to stall the Scots in the morning session but Safyaan Sharif removed both in quick succession before Haq completed a three-wicket haul by bowling Mohammed Tauqir.
Coach Pete Steindl said: "It was fitting that Maj and Richie were in the middle at the end, given what they contributed to this game.
"We talk a lot about players taking responsibility and being not out at the end in a winning team – and they have done that. But everyone in the team contributed at some stage and we showed real professionalism when the pressure was on. It was hard work but that makes the victory even more satisfying."
Scotland's first win of this I-Cup campaign sees them jump from sixth to second in the eight-team table and their next challenge in this competition comes against Canada at Mannofield in July.
Meanwhile, the Scots fly to Sri Lanka tomorrow (Tue) for a training camp before returning to Sharjah for two one-day matches against UAE.
A seven-week trip concludes with the T20 World Cup qualifiers in Dubai next month.