The Scottish Pro50 made a sensational return to the programme on Sunday after a year’s Covid-induced absence, as Western Warriors’ Matthew Cross and Eastern Knights’ Jamie Crawley both hit spectacular double-centuries to set their sides on the path to easy victories.
The day also marked the debut in the competition of a Scottish Performance Academy XI, but the youngsters were on the receiving end of Cross’s outstanding innings and lost by a thumping 178 runs.
Put in to bat at New Cambusdoon, Ayr, the Warriors quickly recovered from the early loss of Muhammad Awais as Cross and Michael English (46) assembled 103 for the second wicket.
Then Cross and Riyaad Henry, son of long-serving Scotland international and coach Omar, added 243 for the fifth, Henry falling for an 85-ball 93 shortly before the close.
But Cross stayed to the end, his unbeaten 203 coming from only 156 deliveries and including 21 fours and four sixes.
After suffering such a pasting the Performance Academy struggled with the bat, but Chris McBride made 42 and Tom Simpson an aggressive 68 as they reached 199 in 37.4 overs.
Brendan McMullen took three for 35 and international slow left-armer Hamza Tahir four for 44.
The mayhem was even greater at Portgower Place in Edinburgh, where 20-year-old Jamie Crawley, son of former Scotland international Steve, hammered 206 from just 144 deliveries, with 18 fours and 11 sixes as the Knights piled up a massive 448 for nine against the hapless Caledonian Highlanders.
Having elected to bat, the home side got off to a stunning start as Crawley and Ollie Hairs put on 89 from the first 45 deliveries from Safyaan Sharif, Scott Cameron, Ryan Brown and Chris Greaves, hitting no fewer than 11 fours and five sixes in those initial seven and a half overs.
After Hairs departed, having made 58 from 22 balls, Josh Wood joined Crawley in a second-wicket stand of 123, Wood keeping pace with his partner with a 36-ball knock of 61.
Mark Watt (55) and Crawley then added another 138 for the fifth wicket, and the plunder continued to the end, Lewis O’Donnell’s four wickets, including that of Crawley, coming at a cost of 71 runs in six overs.
The Highlanders were soon in trouble, and despite a defiant 43 from Kyle Coetzer they rapidly slumped to 72 for nine against the pace of Ali Evans and the left-arm spin of Mark Watt, before they were partially rescued by a 62-run last wicket stand between O’Donnell (32 not out) and Craig Ramsay (24), before Evans returned to remove Ramsay.
That gave Evans five for 23, Watt taking four for 24, and the Highlanders were all out for 134, losing by 214 runs.
The next matches Scottish Pro50 matches take place on 20 June and will pit the Warriors against the Knights at Titwood, Glasgow and the Highlanders against the Performance Academy at Forthill, Broughty Ferry.
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