PAUL Collingwood was captain of England when they opened their World Twenty20 finals campaign in 2009 with a defeat to the Netherlands at Lord’s.
Now a coach enlisted by Scotland to help a group of talented players turn potential into results, Collingwood’s input could be invaluable after the team began their qualifying campaign for the 2014 finals in dismal fashion in the United Arab Emirates yesterday.
After generously conceding 149 runs to unfancied Bermuda, Kyle Coetzer’s team were all out for 131 in reply after losing their last seven wickets for 22 runs. There are six places on offer in Bangladesh, and Scotland are far from out of contention, but they face bogey team Afghanistan today and will have to bounce back in the same manner England did after that embarrassing night at the home of cricket.
Afghanistan also flattered to deceive, beaten comprehensively by the Dutch after being bowled out for 90, and Coetzer identified this game before the tournament as a key one for Scotland because victory would give them belief that they can beat anyone at this level.
The Aberdonian also declared in The Scotsman that he had never been part of a stronger Scotland squad, a comment that may have been ringing in his ears in Sharjah yesterday.
“Today’s result is disappointing. It’s the nature of the game,” said head coach Pete Steindl. “To be fair to Bermuda they came out and played well, and were attacking with the bat and took their chances in the field, so at the end of the day that happens.
“The key thing is that we move on from today and regroup and keep on believing what we are trying to do – which we’ve had success with in the past. So it’s important we focus on that and are ready to come out firing tomorrow.”
Iain Wardlaw is looking like a regular wicket-taker in this format but he was expensive yesterday as Dion Stovell led the charge, allowing Bermuda to race to 26 for no wicket after two overs.
The Scots bowlers failed to adjust to Bermuda’s unorthodox hitters and apart from Majid Haq, who got rid of Stovell and David Hemp to stem the flow, Calum MacLeod and Gordon Goudie, they each took their share of punishment.
Scotland’s reply started in contrasting style to Bermuda’s. After two dot balls Richie Berrington attempted to get off the mark with a quick single and the in-form MacLeod was caught short, run out without having faced a ball.
When Matt Machan was brilliantly caught by Derrick Brangman for just five, Scotland were teetering but captain Coetzer, with the help of Berrington (29) and then Rob Taylor (26), steaded the ship with great purpose.
Having reached 50 in the sixth over, Taylor’s quick scoring meant Scotland brought up three figures in the 14th and an opening victory looked on the cards.
It was 37-year-old off-spinner Sam Robinson who swung the game back in Bermuda’s favour, when a tight 15th over saw Taylor perish. Two balls later, Coetzer was stumped off Brangman for 37 and no member of the tail could hold his nerve thereafter. A clatter of wickets meant that runs dried up and with 22 needed off the last over, Wardlaw and Neil Carter could not come up with any big shots.
Elsewhere in Group B, Papua New Guinea proved their warm-up win over Ireland was no fluke as they chased down 177 to beat Kenya. Nepal trounced Denmark in the other game.
In Group A, favourites Ireland enjoyed a commanding 32-run win over Nam-ibia, Paul Stirling scoring a rapid 52.