Scotland came away with a triumphant clean sweep of the 11th leg of CWC League 2 in Dubai. The Saltires won all four of their matches, whilst Oman won two out of four, and Papua New Guinea went winless.
1st ODI: Scotland beat Papua New Guinea by 162 runs
2nd ODI: Scotland beat Oman by 4 runs
3rd ODI: Oman beat Papua New Guinea by 7 wickets (35 balls remaining)
4th ODI: Scotland beat Papua New Guinea by 123 runs
5th ODI: Scotland beat Oman by 2 wickets (1 ball remaining)
6th ODI: Oman beat Papua New Guinea by 85 runs
PNG’s woes continue
Although the series had been originally scheduled to be hosted in PNG, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the series to be relocated to Dubai. The hosts took on Scotland in the opening game. Although they bowled with discipline in the first 40, maintaining the run-rate at 4 runs per over or less, the Barramundis faced an onslaught in the death overs. Richie Berrington and George Munsey plundered a 167-run unbeaten partnership, with 106 of them coming in the final 7 overs. Berrington raised an unbeaten 114.
Chasing 285 to win, PNG were quickly out of the contest, sliding to 49/5 in the 15th over. With no batter passing 30, PNG could only manage 122 runs in total, less than half of their target.
It would be the start of a series with a familiar feeling for the Barramundis. After beating the UAE in their last CWC League 2 leg, and following it up by beating Nepal 2-0 in a friendly series in Kathmandu, it looked as if the beleaguered side had turned a corner in the ODI format. However, when faced with two of the top sides in the competition, PNG came down to earth with four consecutive, heavy defeats.
They posted 224/9 in their first game against Oman, led by a half-century for CJ Amini. However, the target was under par, and Jatinder Singh racked up and unbeaten 118 in reply. Oman completed the chase with nearly 6 overs to spare, and only three wickets down.
Their 2nd match against Scotland felt like a re-run of their first one, though with different players in different roles. Whilst PNG bowled with similar discipline for 40 overs – this time removing Berrington and Munsey before they dealt major damage – the Barramundi death bowling allowed Scotland to take the game away. This time it was Michael Leask, who made an 18-ball 50* – the fastest by an associate player in a Men’s ODI – and Dylan Budge who took Scotland to 287/5. Although they showed more intent in reply, thanks to Tony Ura’s run-a-ball 47, PNG were all out in the 37th over for only 164.
A similar fate befell PNG in their final game, against Oman. Jatinder Singh again did the damage with the bat, scoring 79 off 77 balls, and the Omani batting swung wildly at the death to raise the score to 277/8. Ura once again showed intent in reply, and Amini made his 2nd half-century of the series, but PNG’s batting failed otherwise, all out for 192, with Bilal Khan claiming another 5-wicket haul.
Scotland and Oman contest thrillers
If PNG’s games were one-sided, the Scotland versus Oman clashes were anything but. Their first meeting saw Scotland bat first, but despite a fluent 62 from George Munsey, they were kept in check by Oman on the way to 215 all out. Oman’s reply stuttered little around the 25th over, where they were 92/4, but a partnership between Zeeshan Maqsood and Ayaan Khan put them ahead again. It took a direct hit from Berrington to remove Maqsood, which opened up the content. Although wickets fell at the other end, Khan kept Oman in a strong position, and left them needing 7 off the last two over with 3 wickets in hand.
After just a single off the first three balls of the 49th over, Fayyaz Butt attempted to take on Mark Watt, only to find the fielder at short-third. Kaleemullah was run out next ball, leaving Oman needing 6 from 7 balls from the last pair. Ayaan Khan couldn’t manage to score off the final ball of the 49th, leaving Bilal Khan to face the start of the 50th. Bilal managed a single off the 3rd ball, returning Ayaan to strike needing 5 runs from 3 balls. Ayaan then skied an attempted pull shot to fine leg, where Hamza Tariq took a diving catch to give Scotland a 4 run win.
Their 2nd meeting was equally dramatic. This time, Oman batted first, scoring 225/7 thanks to a half-centuries from Kashyap Prajapati and Mohammed Nadeem. In the chase, Bilal Khan broke open the Scotland top-order, removing Kyle Coetzer and debutant Chris McBride in the first three overs. Matthew Cross fell to Kaleemullah in the 8th, and Scotland were 21/3. Behind the game, it fell to Berrington and Munsey to rebuild, making a 98-run partnership before Munsey fell for 43. Berrington then had to retire hurt in the 38th over, at which point Scotland were 155/5. He later returned after Leask and Shariff’s cameo innings, but lasted only 3 more balls, leaving the score 207/8.
Enter Adrian Neill to partner Mark Watt. The equation 19 runs from 11 balls. Two misfields from Oman in the 49th allowed Scotland to make 7 runs, leaving 12 required off the last. Watt edged Bilal Khan for 4, before taking a 2, and two more singles brought the target down to 4 from two balls. At this point, Watt opted to slog Bilal down the ground for a boundary, giving Scotland a 2-wicket win.
The clean sweep for Scotland raises them back to 2nd on the CWC League 2 table, with 24 points from 16 games. Oman maintain top spot on 40 points, but have now played 32 of their 36 matches. PNG remain 7th, with only 1 win from their 20 games so far.
CWC League 2 resumes in May, when USA host Scotland and UAE.
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