2024 T20 World Cup team preview: Scotland

Can Scotland defy the odds to make it to the Super Eight stage?

One of the leading Associate sides in the world for many years, Scotland possesses a rich cricketing history. They have participated in five of the last eight T20 World Cups, only missing out on qualification in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Their best performance came at the 2021 event, where they beat Bangladesh, Oman and Papua New Guinea to qualify for the Super 12 stage.

In the last T20 World Cup in 2022, the Scots upset West Indies in their opening game to get their campaign off to a cracking start. But narrow subsequent losses against Ireland and Zimbabwe consigned them to a group stage exit.

This time around, the Scots have selected a largely unchanged XV with only four players missing out from the last World Cup. This includes experienced veteran Calum Macleod, who retired from international cricket two years ago after a fantastic career spanning 15 years and more than 4,000 runs across both white ball formats. Other omissions comprise of Josh Davey, Hamza Tahir and Craig Wallace who have all been dropped. In their place, the Scots have opted for left-arm seamer Brad Currie, Oli Hairs and under-19 graduates Jack Jarvis and Charlie Tear.

Currie in particular has made a bright start to his Scotland T20I career, picking up 19 wickets at 10.15. His left-arm pace will add a crucial point of difference to the team’s fast bowling stocks. The side will be captained by 37-year-old veteran Richie Berrington, who has been a regular in the team since 2008 and took over leadership duties in 2022. A solid attacking middle order batter, he has struggled to replicate his form from previous years. In 2024, Berrington has scored a paltry 60 runs from 5 games at an average of 12 and a strike rate of 118. Scotland will desperately hope that the captain can turn his batting fortunes around.

How Scotland qualified?

Scotland grabbed one of the two available European slots to make it to the main draw of the 2024 World Cup. Their path through the regional qualifiers was a comfortable one; sweeping aside Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Germany, Denmark and Austria to finish top of the group.

Fixtures

Tuesday, 4 June 2024, v England, Barbados

Thursday, 6 June 2024, v Namibia, Barbados

Sun, 9 June 2024, v Oman, Antigua

Saturday, 15 June 2024, v Australia, St. Lucia

Key Players

Chris Sole set the ODI World Cup qualifiers alight last year with his blistering pace and searing inswingers. The 30-year-old speedster is a rare commodity in Associate cricket with his ability to breach the 150 km/h barrier on a semi-regular basis. Sole’s match-winning spells of 2/43 and 3/33 against West Indies and Zimbabwe respectively were instrumental in setting up Scotland for qualification, before a Bas de Leede special in the last Super Six game crushed their dreams.

Chris Sole is elated after dismissing Sean Williams, Zimbabwe vs Scotland, Super Six, ODI World Cup Qualifier, 4 July 2023 (Photo: ICC/Getty Images)

Sole’s T20 record however remains ordinary and it is something that he would like to improve upon at the World Cup to add some real snarl to the Scottish bowling lineup. Chris hails from a sporting family with his father David representing the national rugby team in 44 tests and other siblings Tom, Gemma and Jamie who play cricket, netball and rugby respectively.

Off-spinner Mark Watt is easily one of the leading bowlers in Associate Cricket. While not a big turner of the ball, the stocky left-armer relies on subtle changes in flight, length and a cheat sheet to deceive batters. One of his variations is the “24-yarder”, where he suddenly lets go off the ball from behind the bowling crease, often catching batters by surprise.

Watt is in many ways Scotland’s version of Mitchell Santner; a reliable, wily and ever dependable left-arm orthodox bowler who possesses world class stats in T20Is, with a bowling average of 19.57 and an economy rate of 6.81. And he’s in superb form with his 2024 returns tracking even better!

Burly, big-hitting George Munsey provides plenty of ballast at the top of the Scottish batting order. With a career strike rate of 144 and an average of 31, Munsey is particularly adept at unfurling his trademark array of reverse sweeps and scoops. He is crucial to Scotland’s chances of getting away to a good start and getting runs on the board in the opening powerplay overs. Since the last T20 World Cup in 2022, Munsey has been in imperious form, averaging over 40 and striking at 150.

George Munsey playing a trademark reverse sweep
Form Guide

It hasn’t been the best World Cup lead up for Scottish cricket with multiple unsavoury off-field scandals dominating headlines. A recent report commissioned by Cricket Scotland revealed that women cricketers in the country face a toxic environment and a high degree of prejudice. This comes on the back of another independent review in 2022, which concluded that the governance and leadership of the sport was institutionally racist, highlighting 448 individual examples of racism.

Thankfully, things have been tracking much better on-field with Scotland winning 9 out of their last 12 completed T20Is. This includes a 2-1 away series win against UAE and a clean sweep of the European qualifier. They have also excelled in the 50-over format, winning the previous iteration of the Cricket World Cup League 2 cycle and coming within a hair’s breadth of qualifying for the 2023 ODI World Cup. However, their 2024 form has been patchier with a mixed start to the 2024-2026 League 2 cycle and two losses against Netherlands and Ireland in the recent Tri-Nation T20I series.

Expectations

Drawn in Group B, alongside two previous T20 World Cup champions in Australia and England, Scotland will have their work cut out for them. Namibia and Oman, the other teams in the group, will also provide stiff competition. If Scotland are to make it to the Super Eight stage, they have to defeat the two desert nations Namibia and Oman and hope for an England slip up against them.

After all, the Poms have form in this regard; having not won a single game against a fellow European nation in a T20 World Cup in three previous attempts (two losses vs Netherlands and one vs Ireland). The Scots can also draw some inspiration from their famous six run victory against England in the one-off ODI game in 2018. On the other hand, a win against the ruthless and hard-nosed Aussies might be a step too far.

Prediction: A 3rd place finish looms as the most likely outcome for the Scots.

Scotland XV – Squad

Richie Berrington (c), Matthew Cross, Brad Currie, Chris Greaves, Oli Hairs, Jack Jarvis, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Brandon McMullen, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Charlie Tear, Mark Watt, Brad Wheal

Coach: Doug Watson

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