Cricket World Cup: ‘Scots can handle Malinga’

GORDON Drummond believes Scotland can give Sri Lanka a fright – providing they repel one of the world’s most dangerous bowlers.

Lasith Malinga: Danger man. Picture: Getty
Lasith Malinga: Danger man. Picture: Getty

The Scots go into their penultimate World Cup clash in Hobart in the early hours of tomorrow and are bidding to bounce back from the disappointment of last week’s defeat by Bangladesh. That reverse means Scotland have failed to win a single match on cricket’s biggest stage in 12 attempts.

However, Drummond who captained the Scots the last time they faced Sri Lanka, reckons it could be 13th time lucky for his former team-mates.

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Both sides could field at least six players who contested their last encounter in Edinburgh in 2011 – a match Sri Lanka won by a commanding 183 runs.

Drummond is in little doubt that one of the keys to their hopes of an upset is how the batsmen cope with the unique bowling style of Lasith Malinga.

The 31 year-old destroyed Scotland’s top order in the last meeting with 5-30, including current openers Calum MacLeod and Kyle Coetzer.

Drummond, who was also clean-bowled by Malinga, said: “The big challenge about facing Malinga is that he’s different to anything else you come across in the game.

“He bowls a really fast in-swinging yorker, has a very good, well-disguised slower ball and a dangerous bouncer that comes at you at a different trajectory because of his low, slingy action.

“When you put these ingredients together he is a real
handful.”

However, Drummond added: “I don’t think Malinga is bowling as fast in this tournament and our batting has certainly come on since the last meeting.

“There is also the chance that Sri Lanka might rest him 
now that they are definitely through to the quarter-finals.”

Drummond rejects the suggestion that the nature of Scotland’s two most recent defeats against Afghanistan and Bangladesh will have knocked the stuffing out of the team.

Preston Mommsen’s men squandered victory chances in both matches but Drummond insisted: “Scotland will definitely want to go out with a bang.

“Although there will be disappointment about the way they lost the last two games, they will also realise that they haven’t been really well beaten by any side except perhaps England.

“If a couple of key moments had gone their way Scotland could be sitting with two wins to their name but you have to take your chances.”

In addition to Malinga, Drummond has identified Sri Lanka’s top order batsmen as another major danger. They boast two of the top five scorers in the tournament, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara, the latter leading the way with 372 runs at an astonishing average of 124.

“If our bowlers can penetrate their top order we’ll have a chance to put them under a bit of pressure.”

Following tomorrow’s match the Scots conclude their campaign against tournament favourites Australia on Saturday, also in Hobart.