Scotland Claim Braidwood Cup With Victory Over Hong Kong

Calum MacLeod Scotland

Scotland 266-7 (CS MacLeod 102, Tanveer Ahmed 2-50) beat

Hong Kong 213 (Babar Hayat 56, CB Sole 4-28) by 53 runs

Jake Perry reports from Edinburgh, photo courtesy Cricket Scotland…

After bad light brought an end to their first encounter only twelve balls away from a result, Scotland ended their international season with a 53-run victory over Hong Kong in the second Braidwood Cup ODI at The Grange. Calum MacLeod’s fourth one-day hundred – a new national record – together with an outstanding bowling performance from Chris Sole proved to be the difference between the two sides as the visitors fell well short of the victory target.

Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat had named an unchanged line-up at the start of the day while Scotland brought in Michael Leask to replace Preston Mommsen who was struggling with a groin strain. Vice-captain Kyle Coetzer took over captaincy duties and on winning the toss elected to bat first.

Coetzer has been in sparkling form throughout the summer and he again dominated the early part of the Scotland innings. Seizing on some inconsistent bowling from the Hong Kong seamers Coetzer regularly found the boundary in a mixture of drives and cuts behind square. An arrow-straight six off Aizaz Khan was followed by an even bigger hit into the tennis courts off Tanwir Afzal, drawing appreciative applause from opening partner Matthew Cross.

It was the introduction of the left-arm spin of Nadeem Ahmed that proved to be the catalyst for change. In his first over Scotland survived an extraordinary mix-up as Cross, at the non-striker’s end, called Coetzer through for a single and kept going despite being immediately sent back. The simple chance to run out one of the two batsmen now standing next to each other beside Coetzer’s stumps was missed, however, as Hayat failed to throw down the stumps at the other end.

The reprieve was short-lived, though, as both openers fell in successive overs. Cross (13) never quite got his innings going and a loose shot to Ahmed resulted in an edge to the wicketkeeper. Three balls later Coetzer was to follow him back to the dug-out as his drive was superbly plucked out of the air by bowler Tanveer Ahmed on his follow-through.

Coetzer’s quickfire 48, off 42 deliveries, has left him one short of Scotland’s ODI run record.

Calum MacLeod has also enjoyed a prolific summer with the bat and Scotland now looked to him to anchor the innings as Hong Kong checked their progress with tight bowling. Quietly accumulating his runs in that familiarly languid, wristy fashion he reached his half century off 67 deliveries, and joined by Craig Wallace he began to pick up the scoring rate into the final overs.

Wallace cut loose after a watchful start, striking consecutive sixes off Aizaz before bringing up his maiden ODI half century off 49 balls as the two put on 116, Scotland’s record sixth wicket partnership in the format.

But the star of the innings was undoubtedly MacLeod, who reached his second hundred of the summer in the penultimate over. His expertly paced 102, from 107 deliveries, contained eight boundaries and one six and was crucial in bringing his side to a competitive total.

Hong Kong’s reply got off to a steady start with both openers finding the boundary in the early stages as they reached 40-0 after eight overs. Chris Sole was to make the breakthrough with the first ball of the ninth, however, as wicketkeeper-batsman Chris Carter (15) top-edged a rising delivery through to his opposite number Cross, and when his opening partner Aizaz (25) fell in the thirteenth after miscuing a pull to Michael Leask at mid-on Hong Kong were wobbling on 49-2.

The wicket brought form batsman Nizakat Khan to the crease and after a quiet start both he and partner Babar Hayat began to play more aggressively as Hong Kong came back into the match. Both De Lange and Watt had confident appeals turned down as the batsmen kept in touch with Duckworth-Lewis through a cocktail of nudged singles and bigger blows. Hayat played particularly well and brought up his third ODI half century with a swivelled flick for four off Ali Evans in the thirtieth over.

With the game threatening to get away from them Scotland needed something special and Richie Berrington duly provided it with two terrific catches. First Hayat (56) cut powerfully to the Clydesdale man to give Mark Watt his first wicket of the innings before dangerman Nizakat (40) followed to an even better effort off Evans. Both efforts stood out in what has been a summer of excellent Scottish catches, many at the hands of Berrington.

Watt has had a quieter summer than he would like after missing out on selection for the final eleven against both Afghanistan and UAE and he was unlucky not to pick up more wickets after an excellent bowling display here. Looking to vary his pace and flight the young slow left-armer constantly asked questions of the Hong Kong batsmen, with Anshuman Rath in particular leading something of a charmed life against him. With Con De Lange returning the screw tightened still further and he claimed the wicket of Eshan Khan (7), bowled, to leave Hong Kong on 164-5 at the end of the thirty-seventh.

The next ball brought a second wicket in succession as Sole claimed his third, Rath (13) top-edging a bouncer to Safyaan Sharif at deep square leg as Hong Kong’s challenge began to fade with the light. Sole added the wicket of Tanwir Afzal to finish with 4-28, his best ODI figures, and three balls later it was all over as Hong Kong were bowled out for 213, Evans having the last word by taking out last man Nadeem Ahmed’s middle stump to underline his side’s emphatic 53-run victory.



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