Scotland spinner Majid Haq says Tuesday’s 200-run debacle against Australia in Edinburgh could have been prevented.
The tourists were allowed to run up a huge score of 362 for three after being put in to bat first in the one-day international at the Grange.
Aaron Finch scored 148, while fellow opener Shaun Marsh added 151 as the duo rattled up a new record first-wicket combination of 246. With those huge knocks, the Scots conceded their worst-ever total in an official ODI before responding with a meagre 162 all out.
But Haq believes it could have been all so different had wicket-keeper David Murphy not missed a chance to stump Finch ten overs in, just as he was getting set for his first century in the 50-over format.
He said: “It’s never nice to lose by that kind of margin. We were all a bit shocked yesterday after the game.
“They are a fine side and there’s obviously a gulf between where we are as a team and where Australia are right now.
“When you win the toss and let Australia bat without being put under pressure, then you will find it hard and that’s what happened.
“We had a chance to stump Finch and didn’t take it. That cost us 125 runs. Sometimes that can happen but, yesterday, we missed an opportunity.”
Scotland now face Ireland tomorrow and then again on Sunday in Belfast as they bid to secure automatic qualification for the 2015 World Cup.
The Scots will be without injured skipper Kyle Coetzer, while the opposition will have been buoyed by a fine display against England on Tuesday, when they lost by six wickets after captain William Porterfield stunned the Test nation with a score of 112. But Haq does not believe morale will be a problem for Scotland after that record-breaking loss to Australia.
“These games against Ireland are completely different,” said Haq. “Against Australia, they were massive favourites. But against Ireland, we will get a better gauge of where we are at.
“We are very hopeful that we can win both games over there and keep our World Cup hopes on track. If we win both, we will be almost there.
“They are a very stable and mature side. Most of their guys are around the 30-year-old mark so they have been together for a long time. They did well against England and one of their guys even made a ton, so their batting is strong. But our chances are good. We will miss Kyle and that is a huge blow, but hopefully someone else can come in and score big, which we will need to do to win.”
Australia used Tuesday’s clash in the capital as a warm-up for a five-game ODI series with England. Leeds will be the venue for the first match tomorrow but England will be without captain Alastair Cook, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann – all rested by head coach Andy Flowers.
Finch, however, does not expect an easy ride, even with England’s big names sitting out the series. He said: “Their team is still very strong. Any side that includes Kevin Pietersen and Steven Finn will be dangerous.
“We have seen over the years that they can dominate one-day cricket as a team and it is up to us to put them on the back foot, get a lead and then try to hold on to it.”