T20 World Cup Qualifier | Matthew Cross stars as Scotland beat Oman in fifth place play-off
Scotland wicket-keeper batsman Matthew Cross hit an unbeaten 61 as Scotland chased down the target of 168 set by Oman to emerge victorious in the fifth place play-off. With both the countries qualified for the T20 World Cup in Australia, this play-off was more like a dress rehearsal to that event.
Scotland vs Oman
Oman batted first and needed a good start from their openers. But they lost Jatinder Singh early as he was caught by keeper Matthew Cross off the bowling of Alasdair Evans. Fellow opener Khawar Ali and Aqib Ilyas steadied the Omani ship with a decent partnership for the second wicket, with the former scoring a well-made 43. But once Ali was dismissed, Oman began to lose wickets at regular intervals. All the batsmen got starts but no one could go on and play that decisive innings that would give Oman a mammoth total on the board. A late cameo from keeper Suraj Kumar propelled Oman to a score of 167 in their 20 overs. Evans was the pick of the Scottish bowlers, picking up three wickets though being a tad expensive.
Chasing 168 to win, Scotland got off to a bad start. Left-arm pacer Bilal Khan continued his fabulous new-ball form as he removed skipper Kyle Coetzer for a duck in the very first over of the chase. Scotland kept on losing wickets as they were in a spot of bother at 77-4. Here is when keeper Cross and batsman Michael Leask strung together a much-needed partnership of 61 runs for the fifth wicket, taking the game deep. Leask played a crucial knock of 21-ball 38 which tilted the game in Scotland's favor. The game hung in the balance when Leask was dismissed by Bilal. But Cross's fantastic 45-ball 61 and Tom Sole's unbeaten cameo of 13 made sure that Scotland reached the target with an over to spare.