Ali Evans ready to fire Scotland to T20 World Cup

Carlton and Scotland bowler Ali Evans has taken nine wickets in the tournament. Picture: Toby Williams
Carlton and Scotland bowler Ali Evans has taken nine wickets in the tournament. Picture: Toby Williams
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DOT-BALL specialist Ali Evans says wickets are the key to Scotland’s T20 World Cup qualifying hopes.

The Scots face a crunch clash against Oman today as Group B reaches a tense finale. Any four of five sides could still reach the play-off phase to stay in with a chance of qualifying for the World Cup in India next year.

Following defeats to the Netherlands and Afghanistan last weekend, Scotland have fought back well but must beat joint-top Oman, whose games against UAE was rained off yesterday, to be sure of progressing.

Evans, who has bowled more dot balls than anyone in the 14-team tournament – batsmen have failed to score from 53 of his 120 deliveries – is more concerned about adding to his impressive tally of wickets. His nine scalps make him Scotland’s leading wicket-taker and joint second in the competition.

“He said: Its always nice bowling dot balls but wickets are more important.

“Getting batsmen out is the best way to stop them scoring so I just want to keep it going. When I do that it tends to mean we are doing well as a team and, when you look at our performances, all the bowlers have been chipping in and the batsmen have been doing their job. We’ve become a really tight and close unit.”

Oman, who set the tournament alight with their shock win over Afghanistan, sit joint top of the group but the Scots will leapfrog their rivals with victory at Goldenacre this morning. That would pave the way for the Afghans to clinch top place and automatic World Cup qualification, provided they beat winless Canada. Kenya, who share top spot with Oman and Afghanistan, could also win the group but the Netherlands, their opponents today, need victory to go through.

Evans added: “It is really tight, with five teams who can still progress and, for us, it’s a must-win game against Oman. We expect a tough game because obviously they have surprised a few people in this tournament. We don’t treat anyone lightly so it’s a really exciting prospect and we just want to get out there and get on with it.”

The tournament format means that any team finishing in the top four in their group still has the chance to go on and lift the World Twenty20 Qualifying Trophy. Evans added: “Our goal at the start wasn’t just qualifying for India, it was about winning the tournament. That is still our aim. This is a world stage and, as players, we want to show our skills.”

Scotland may recall Forfarshire all-rounder Michael Leask who was rested for Thursday’s win against Canada.

• Ireland’s hopes of qualification were dealt a major blow when they lost by five runs to Hong Kong in their Group A match. Will Porterfield’s side fell six short of their 130-run target in Malahide, despite taking 17 from the final over as John Mooney launched a late, desperate assault.