NEW Scotland cricket captain Kyle Coetzer insisted his team had got it half right in the first of the weekend’s one-day internationals with Pakistan at Raeburn Place.
But an inability to build on a sound bowling effort that restricted the visitors to 231-7 from their 50 overs saw the Scots eventually fall 96 runs short and Coetzer admitted: “We had a bad day at the office with the bat.”
Scotland used only five bowlers throughout the Pakistani innings, such was the potency and penetration not to mention superb fielding summed up when Rob Taylor ran round the boundary to take a diving catch which dismissed Umar Amin.
Only once chance was missed – a sky-ed shot put down by Matt Machan and if Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq had not produced a captain’s knock of 78 not out on his way to man-of-the-match honours a first victory at this level over a leading nation could have beckoned.
It was not to be, though, and a disappointed Coetzer said: “We managed to pick up wickets and put a bit of a squeeze on them.
“In the second half we gave ourselves a platform (a half-century, second-wicket partnership) but got ourselves squeezed.
“We couldn’t get the ball away. Hopefully we can change that on Sunday.”
The turning point came when Josh Davey was caught behind for 20 and although Coetzer perished for 32, a rot set in.
“There was a turning point. The guys who were in were trying to rotate the strike but maybe needed to show a little bit more intent in that period.”
One early highlight was the three wickets for Scots spinner Majid Haq which took him past John Blain as Scotlnd’s leading wicket-taker in one-day internationals with 44 to his predecessor’s 41.
“It was a proud moment... but the result is more important.”
Haq was adamant a chance was lost.
“That was the best chance to beat a full member country in the time I have been playing.
“To restrict Pakistan to 231 on a fast ground took a huge effort.
“The second half was very, very disappointing especially after a good start from Kyle and Josh.
“To lose by a high margin was hugely disappointing.
“A score of 231 from 50 overs should be nowhere near enough. We just kept losing wickets.
“We haven’t got over the line yet whereas a team like Ireland have that experience.”
Referring to Scotland’s big rivals Haq added: “Ireland would have expected to win that match. We had to get a start and did. Then there was a huge collapse.”
In the field, Scotland showed a discipline and determination that touched new heights for those who had followed them at the Grange in recent seasons.
Pushing and proding the Pakistanis relentlessly was Haq who early in his stint saw Mohammad Hafeez caught at backward point by Josh Davey to give him his all-important 42nd victim and a further scalp was Asad Shafiq who took a swing and played across the line. That was typical of the lack of composure in the Pakistani ranks which Scotland did well to exploit although pride was to come before a fall and the 6ft 10in Mohammad Irfan consistently beat the bat with sheer speed that had the Scottish openers trapped like deer in headlights.
Irfan opened with a maiden and, without a run being scored, Neil Carter, promoted to the top of the order to strike a positive, aggressive, note played onto Juneid Khan to depart next over.
Coetzer and Davey repaired some damage but after the half century arrived in 12.1 overs it took 18.3 overs to post the next 50 runs. Also, by that stage Coetzer (32), Davey (20), Machan (11) and Moneeb Iqbal (8) had all departed. Indeed the Scots had become thoroughly bogged down especially Iqbal who was eventually run out leaving questions as to why, since he didn’t bowl albeit in an effective five-man attack which Coetzer said he had no need to expand, the Scots had preferred him to last weekend’s half century maker against Essex, Freddie Coleman. Home misery continued with Preston Mommsen being stumped off the classy Saeed Ajmaal and at the other end Juneid Khan carried on where the spinner left off having David Murphy and Majid Haq lbw with successive balls. That meant three wickets in three balls and to emphasis the point Rob Taylor, at the other end, had figured in three partnerships without taking strike,
At least Taylor, showing commitment, was able to contribute to a last-wicket stand of 23 with Iain Wardlaw that was Scotland’s second highest and pushed them to within 100 runs of the visitors’ winning total. But halfway through there was more than a glimmer of hope that the outcome could have been different only for those aspirations to be more smashed than dashed with 10.2 overs to spare.