Calum MacLeod’s century drives Scots to win over Hong Kong

Scotland's Calum MacLeod acknowledges the crowd after his century against Hong Kong. Picture by Donald MacLeod/Cricket Scotland

Scotland's Calum MacLeod acknowledges the crowd after his century against Hong Kong. Picture by Donald MacLeod/Cricket Scotland

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A record-breaking century from Calum MacLeod helped Scotland end their season on a high by lifting the Braidwood Cup with victory over Hong Kong.

MacLeod became the first Scot to hit four one-day international tons, the latest following just a fortnight after he also reached three figures against UAE.

His 102 and 52 from Craig Wallace allowed the hosts to post 266-6, 
a total which they defended comfortably with Chris Sole claiming the best figures of his fledgling international career.

Hong Kong, though, began their chase steadily through the efforts of Aizaz Khan and Chris Carter until the latter departed in the ninth over.

Ali Evans and Safyaan Sharif had toiled for the breakthrough but Sole’s extra pace induced an edge from Carter who was caught behind. Aizaz, having made 25, was Sole’s second victim and, at 49-2, the visitors needed some stability.

It was provided by Babar Hayat and Nizakat Khan who added 90 to put their side marginally in the ascendancy. However, two catches by Richie Berrington sent both batsmen packing in quick succession.

He first scooped up a Babar drive off Mark Watt, the batsman having hit eight boundaries and one six in his personal ODI best of 56.

Even better followed when Nizakat connected fiercely with an Evans delivery only for Berrington to dive full length and send the batsman packing for 40. Having removed the two dangermen, Scotland seized their chance ruthlessly. Wickets began to tumble at regular intervals, Sole returning to claim 4-28 as Hong Kong fell 53 runs short.

Earlier, Scotland were forced into a change when skipper Preston Mommsen pulled out through injury. His place went to Somerset all-rounder Michael Leask while Kyle Coetzer took the reins.

In-form Coetzer led from the front with another hard-hitting innings which included three boundaries in the first over while Matthew Cross, promoted to open with Wallace slipping down the order, played second fiddle. Indeed Cross had made just 13 in a stand of 63 when he nicked a delivery from spinner Nadeem Ahmed to the keeper.

Durham’s MacLeod marched to the crease on a mission and set himself for the long haul, his role becoming increasingly important when Coetzer departed with the score on the same total.

The former Northants batsman had raced to 48 from only 42 deliveries with eight boundaries and two sixes when he offered a sharp return catch to Tanveer Ahmed.

MacLeod also watched as Leask, Berrington and Con de Lange came and went, all reaching double figures without going on.

It meant the Scots, having slumped to 144-5, were in danger of throwing away Coetzer’s excellent start.

Instead a record sixth-wicket partnership between MacLeod and Wallace put them back on course.

By the time Wallace arrived MacLeod was already approaching his sixth ODI half-century and it arrived in the 37th over as Scotland set themselves up for a big finish.

Wallace swept two enormous sixes off consecutive deliveries from Aizaz Khan, propelling him towards his first ODI 50 at better than a run-a-ball while MacLeod approached three figures at the other end.

MacLeod reached his century from 105 balls in a knock which included eight fours and one six.

Both men were out in quick succession towards the end, Wallace caught in the deep for 52 before MacLeod followed for 102 three balls later. The pair, though, had added 116 crucial runs.

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