T20 Review – Scotland v Zimbabwe
Anybody who follows Scottish cricket soon gets inured to regular doses of disappointment.
But that can’t disguise the grievous consequences of the Scots crashing out of the World T20 qualifying competition in Nagpur on Thursday.
This was another opportunity for Grant Bradburn’s side to claim a victory on the global stage. But despite their bowlers restricting Zimbabwe to a modest 147 for 7, a dismal performance from the Scottish top order soon made that tally seem monumental.
In the end, following a spirited recovery from Richie Berrington (36) and Preston Mommsen (31), who added 50 off 40 balls for the sixth wicket, allied to a rapid 24 from Josh Davey, their team came within 11 runs of matching the Zimbabwean score.
But, in truth, this was another maddeningly inconsistent display from Bradburn’s personnel, who keep coming close to a breakthrough, without getting the job done.
On a positive note, they bowled with lots of verve and skill and we can derive glimmers of hope from the emergence of youngsters such as Michael Leask and Mark Watt.
Yet the manner of their batting collapse was frankly brainless as they slumped to 20 for 4 with a series of self-destructive shots.
George Munsey struck two boundaries in the first over, then senselessly walked down the wicket and got stumped from the next ball.
You might imagine Matt Machan would have learned from that, but he also hit successive hours and then holed out weakly immediately afterwards. If they had been pursuing 200, this might have been forgivable.
As it was, the lack of composure and ability to rotate the strike cost the Scots dearly, but it was perhaps typical that they should orchestrate a recovery which turned out to be too little, too late. Mommsen looked in decent form, but relinquished his wicket in anti-climactic fashion and Berrington followed suit.
None of the Scots were able to emulate Zimbabwe’s Sean Williams who rallied his men with a fine half century. And their batsmen toiled against Wellington Masakadza, who picked up four wickets with an ultimately match-winning spell.
At the death, Mommsen looked utterly shattered and there’s no questioning the commitment of these lads. But the sad reality is that Scotland are stuck in a cycle of failure and can’t acquire the knack of crossing the finishing line.
They now face a lot of soul-searching and questions might be asked about the whole Scottish structure, especially given the significant improvement bring demonstrated by other Associate countries.
Mommsen & Co still have to tackle Hong Kong on Saturday in the most posthumous of dead rubbers.
But the damage has already been done.