Scotland will join Pool A of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 after recording a 41-runs victory over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to win the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014 (CWCQ) at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln on Saturday.
The 2005 champion lifted the trophy for the second time after posting a total of 285 for five and then restricted the UAE to 244 for nine to win by 41 runs.
Scotland got off to a shaky start, losing three wickets for 37 runs in the first seven overs. Skipper Preston Mommsen was the star for Scotland with an unbeaten knock of 139 from 149 balls (12 fours and one six) that earned him the man of the match award.
Number six batsman Richie Berrington scored his second half-century of the tournament (63) as the pair put on a 138-runs stand for the fifth wicket. Freddie Coleman (31) and Matt Machan (22) also made vital contributions with the bat.
Manjula Guruge was the pick of the UAE bowlers, claiming three for 67 runs.
The UAE’s run-chase was anchored by Swapnil Patil, who narrowly missed scoring a century when he scored a single off the last delivery of the innings, leaving him on 99 not out, to see his side post a total of 244 for nine from its 50 overs. Top-order batsmen Amjad Ali and captain Khurram Khan added 34 runs each, however, once the skipper was dismissed in the 25th over, the UAE was not able to create any meaningful partnerships.
The two teams had secured their positions in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 after recording victories on the last day of the Super Six stage of the ICC CWCQ NZ 2014 on Thursday, and Saturday’s final determined which pool each team will join in 2015.
After winning Saturday’s final, which was live-streamed on the official ICC website www.icc-cricket.com, Scotland will join Afghanistan, four-time champion Australia, co-host New Zealand, Bangladesh, three-time finalist England, and 1996 champion Sri Lanka in Pool A of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
UAE will be placed in Pool B along with defending champion India, Ireland, 1992 champion Pakistan, South Africa, two-time champion West Indies and Zimbabwe.
Scotland captain Mommsen said the side was elated to win the tournament: “This is what dreams are made of. We had huge goals coming here and we’ve made it, so we have so much to look forward to and a lot to prepare for.”
The skipper said it was surreal to think that his side will be back in New Zealand in 12 months’ time to lock horns with some of the biggest teams in the world. “To be honest, I don’t think it’s fully sunk in, but it is something that we will be looking forward to and prepare to the best we can.”
Mommsen felt that the experience of the ICC CWCQ NZ 2014 has been invaluable for his side. “I’m sure the experience of the last three weeks will be extremely valuable. We’ve adapted well, and hopefully the conditions will be similar come this time next year. We’ve enjoyed our time in New Zealand, the facilities are awesome and the people are friendly.”
Looking ahead to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Mommsen said that playing Pool A teams such as New Zealand, Australia and England were exciting for the team. “We’re going to play some of the best teams in the world. But there will also be opportunities to hopefully get some wins, and cause a couple of upsets.
“It’s an awesome prospect. Obviously England will be huge for us. We’ll be looking to cause an upset – it’s happened before at World Cups and there’s no reason it can’t happen again next year,” he said.
“It’s always a big rivalry with the English. We’ve got them in May up in Aberdeen, and that’ll be a good little test,” he said.
Mommsen felt that his side has an all-round team approach to playing the game. “It’s been a pleasure captaining this team. The guys have stood up when they really needed to stand up. We were literally playing for our World Cup place in that chase against Kenya, and guys stood up and took hold of the game.”
“That’s what we’re trying to create – we’re trying to create match winners and we’ve got a lot of them in that dressing room at the moment. Scottish cricket is in a very good place at the moment and it’s onwards and upwards from here,” he said.
UAE captain Khurram Khan said that although his side lost, he was thrilled to be advancing to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. “I am very happy, to be honest. I would like to thank my team, I think they performed very well. When we left the UAE, everyone said the conditions are not going to suit you, but I think they did a wonderful job coming here and qualifying. It was an amazing experience.”
The skipper said the ICC CWCQ NZ 2014 has been of vital importance to his side as it begins its preparations for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. “We are going to go back and start working hard, it is not going to be easy from here on.”
Scotland captain Mommsen was declared Player of the Tournament. Mommsen was the second highest run-scorer of the tournament (520 runs), including an unbeaten knock of 139 in the final, and has taken the second highest number of catches (seven) as well as being adjudged Man of the Match on four occasions throughout the tournament.
The Man of the Tournament is deemed to be the player who has made the most valuable contribution to his team, and consideration is given to tournament statistics as well as other criteria.
Mommsen was humble when reflecting on the award. “I was lucky enough to stay in a few times and get some big scores, but overall it was a massive team effort to get us this far and win the tournament.”
Scotland will open its ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 campaign against co-host New Zealand in Dunedin on 17 February. Its matches are as follows:
Tuesday, 17 February – New Zealand v Scotland, University Oval, Dunedin (d)
Monday, 23 February – England v Scotland, Hagley Oval, Christchurch (d)
Thursday, 26 February – Afghanistan v Scotland, University Oval, Dunedin (d)
Thursday, 5 March – Bangladesh v Scotland, Saxton Oval, Nelson (d)
Wednesday, 11 March – Sri Lanka v Scotland Bellerive Oval, Hobart (d/n)
Saturday, 14 March – Australia v Scotland, Bellerive Oval, Hobart (d/n)
UAE will play its first match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 against Zimbabwe in Nelson on 19 February. Its matches are as follows:
Thursday, 19 February – Zimbabwe v UAE, Saxton Oval, Nelson (d)
Wednesday, 25 February – Ireland v UAE, GABBA, Brisbane (d/n)
Saturday, 28 February – India v UAE, The WACA, Perth (d/n)
Wednesday, 4 March – Pakistan v UAE, McLean Park, Napier (d/n)
Thursday, 12 March – South Africa v UAE, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington (d/n)
Sunday, 15 March – West Indies v UAE, McLean Park, Napier (d)