MATTHEW Cross became the joint-holder of a world record during Scotland’s storming World Cup qualifying win over Canada, but the wicketkeeper would have left the field in Christchurch knowing that his feat would be overshadowed in all of the coverage of a remarkable day.
Cross joined an exclusive club featuring Adam Gilchrist, Alec Stewart, Mark Boucher, Matt Prior and Jos Buttler in taking six wickets in a one-day international as Scotland swept into the Super Six phase as the form side in the tournament.
Calum MacLeod, however, was the name on everybody’s lips after the opener smashed his way to 175 off 141 balls to make the result a formality.
It was the highest ODI score by a Scot by some distance, eclipsing Kyle Coetzer’s next-best 133. It was the second- highest score by any player from a non-Test-playing country.
To give the achievement a truly global context, only two batsmen in the world made bigger ODI scores in the whole of 2013. MacLeod, with considerable help from Matt Machan, who made 68, has transformed Scotland’s winter to the point where the team are three matches away from a World Cup, after a series of embarrassing results.
They enter the Super Six second in the standings behind Papua New Guinea, who they play on Tuesday. Namibia come first on Sunday and the Scots’ bid to claim one of two places at the 2015 finals will be decided against Kenya on Thursday.
“It was a really comprehensive performance today with some outstanding individual performances,” said joint head coach Craig Wright after what was also Scotland’s highest ODI score.
“Calum’s innings was absolutely top-drawer, and he is showing a great hunger for runs and consistency with his performance. We realise, as a team, that consistency is key.
“We will enjoy this result but won’t get carried away as there is still a long way to go before we achieve our objective.”
MacLeod, 25, was a fast bowler by trade until his action was deemed illegal. His bowling is still on the mend, and he took a wicket as Canada were dismissed for 171.
Batting, he shared in partnerships of 144 with Machan and 118 with Freddie Coleman that left Canada bereft.
MacLeod kept the ball on the ground for the first half of his innings, then opened his shoulders to end up with five sixes to go with his 14 fours.
Scotland have not had such a destructive force at the top of the order since Ryan “Rhino” Watson was at his peak in the mid-2000s, and MacLeod’s form does not appear to be temporary.
He ended the recent World Twenty20 Qualifier as second-highest run-scorer after Machan, and, in last Sunday’s crucial win over United Arab Emirates, he struck 113.