Every associate nation always has that one match that the cricketing world will remember even decades later, like Bangladesh beating the mighty Australians in the 2005 NatWest series, Ireland knocking Pakistan out of the 2007 ICC World Cup and Netherlands taking down England in the 2014 T20 World Cup.
Yesterday, we witnessed one such memorable game as England toured Scotland for a one-off ODI and in what was a very high scoring game, the so called ‘minnows’ overturned a full-member nation. A high-octane game of cricket ended with Scotland winning by 6 runs, registering their first ever win against England.
They performed extremely well at the ICC World Cup qualifiers a couple of months back, but with ICC’s new rule of just 10 nations at the World Cup, they unfortunately didn’t make qualification. However, the team had a few big fixtures lined up and they began those fixtures with this big win against England. Now we know that Scotland Cricket is here to make a big statement.
Yesterday, they were put in to bat by England at the Grange Cricket Club in Edinburgh and put up their highest ever ODI score of 371/5, thanks mainly to a scorching hundred by Calum MacLeod. The top-order batsman smashed his way to 140(94)* after a century opening stand between captain Kyle Coetzer and wicket-keeper Matthew Cross.
This beautiful knock was his second highest score in ODIs and it prompted the 29-year old to be signed by Derbyshire the very next day, for the upcoming T20 Blast. Fifties from Coetzer and George Munsey facilitated this high score from Scotland and all was left in the hands of their bowlers going into the halfway stage.
Read Scoops caught up with Scotland all-rounder Safyaan Sharif, who bowled that crucial 49th over and knocked over the last English wicket. We asked him what it felt like to be a part of this historic win. He was completely lost for words as he knows how much of hard work the entire squad has put in over the years to make this moment possible.
“Absolutely amazing day for Cricket Scotland. It’s an unbelievable achievement by everyone. The guys went about their business right from ball one through to the first half of the match. Kyle (Coetzer) and Matthew (Cross) put up a good partnership and put pressure on the England bowlers, and then Calum (MacLeod) came in and played an unbelievable knock. He was supported well by Richie (Berrington) and George (Munsey), all making significant contributions,” said Sharif about his teammates.
He further spoke about bowling that final over and taking his team over the line, saying, “In the second half, we knew it was going to be tough. They were going to come hard at us but we managed to keep our calm, stick to our lines and lengths and chip away at their wickets. That last wicket was an unbelievable feeling. We knew we needed to go for the kill if we needed to win the game. The yorker has been one of the best weapons in my armoury and luckily, I nailed one to hit him right on the toe and get that last wicket. Amazing, amazing, amazing day for Scotland and for all the fans that came out and supported us too.”
We spoke to Safyaan in depth a month ago and asked him all about the ICC World Cup qualifiers and Scotland cricket’s future after failing to qualify for the ICC 2019 World Cup. He was also the leading wicket taker in that tournament and he expressed his views on the tournament and on his career as a whole. You can get that full interview here.
His views on ICC reducing the number of teams participating in the World Cup: