SCOTLAND launched their WorldT20 qualifying bid in style yesterday as they powered to an easy nine-wicket win over UAE at The Grange, Edinburgh.
In a clinical all-round display they first dismissed their rivals for 109, with spinners Michael Leask and Mark Watt sharing six wickets before George Munsey hit a sizzling 62no to seal victory after just ten overs.
Leask, whose 3-20 helped take the sting out of an aggressive UAE batting line-up, said: “I thought our fielding set the tone and then the bowlers took over.
“I think we did an unbelievable job to keep them to 109.
“There wasn’t much turn in the wicket but it was a case of bowling dot balls and then forcing the mistakes.
“They don’t like taking singles and that’s why so many of their batsmen were caught on the boundary. Mark has come into the side and done a brilliant job and I really enjoy bowling in tandem with him.
“We are both being very miserly and taking wickets which is a great combination.
“George and Kyle (Coetzer) then blew them away – it was fantastic hitting.”
Set a modest 110 for victory after a ruthless display in the field, the Scots took just two runs from the first over before launching a violent assault on the UAE bowlers.
Coetzer led the way with five boundaries in one over off the hapless Manjula Guruge, the best a crashing drive over extra cover.
George Munsey almost matched that effort by striking 18 runs from four deliveries off Amjad Javed, including a maximum over deep mid-wicket.
The onslaught allowed Scotland to race to 76 from the power-play, while Munsey raced to his first T20I half-century from only 29 balls with 10 boundaries and the six.
Coetzer looked set for the same landmark, only to be bowled by Mohammad Naveed for a 16-ball 39.
It brought Calum MacLeod to the middle to complete the job as the Scots won with half their overs to spare, Munsey finishing unbeaten on 62.
Earlier Scotland’s decision to bowl first under clear blue skies briefly looked questionable as the UAE openers plundered 21 runs from the first two overs.
However, Ali Evans atoned for a wayward first over by removing the dangerous Faizan Asif who had hit him for two consecutive boundaries.
Faizan this time attempted to pull a short ball over the rope but succeeded only in picking out the safe hands of MacLeod.
The first maximum arrived when Mo Shahzad hooked a Safyaan Sharif delivery over deep mid-wicket, only to perish next ball when the bowler’s change of pace resulted in a miscue to Munsey at cover.
Scotland could have had a third wicket to greet Watt’s arrival into the attack but Josh Davey misjudged a catch in the deep and could only touch Shaiman Anwar’s expansive shot over the rope.
Davey atoned with a much better effort, running in from deep cover to remove Anwar and present Leask with a wicket from his first delivery.
Watt got his reward in the next over when Amjad Ali picked out Munsey on the backward square leg boundary as the Scottish spinners applied the squeeze.
Munsey was in the action again to take his third catch as Leask struck to dismiss Abdul Shakoor and reduce UAE to 62-5 halfway through their innings.
MacLeod then dismissed Swapnil Patil with a brilliant direct hit from mid-on.
Leask claimed his third victim when, having been struck straight back over his head for six by Umair Ali, he held the next ball back to induce a miscue. Skipper Mohammad Tauqir was unable to bail his side out as Watt found the outside edge and keeper Matthew Cross took the catch.
The same combination accounted for Amjad Javed and it was left to UAE’s No10 batsman Naveed to hoist the tally into three figures with his side’s top score of 19no.
He was left stranded when Richie Berrington’s direct hit removed Manjula Guruge to end UAE’s innings with 11 deliveries of their allocation remaining, Leask and Watt having done most damage with three wickets apiece.
Scotland continue their campaign against the Netherlands tomorrow and Afghanistan on Sunday and Leask added: “There are bigger challenges ahead but we obviously discussed the importance of starting with a win and we made a good job of it.”
In the second match at The Grange, Afghanistan (162-7) dismissed the Netherlands for 130 to start their campaign with a win.