The joyous glow of Sunday’s magnificent moment in the sun will burn long in the memory but Scotland’s brief bask in the cricketing limelight fizzled in the drizzle yesterday evening.
A crushing 84-run victory gave Pakistan a 2-0 win in the Twenty20 series as the Scots were bundled out for just 82 after the world No 1 side had made 166 for six.
This corner of the Scottish capital has danced to a cricketing calypso this week but, in the persistent mist of light summer rain, the party came to an end, albeit with the hope that we will see its like again.
The weekend’s one-day international victory over England has already been filed under “Legendary Moments in Scottish Sport” and, for all their similar global-topping standing, Pakistan in a T20 double-header was always going to be the finger buffet and then the teas and coffees after the wedding feast.
Tuesday night’s first game harnessed a bit of the energy from Sunday with more warm weather and flashes of fight from the outclassed Scots but yesterday, in gathering gloom, they collapsed in the face of the superiority of the opposition, understandably perhaps having been pushed to the limits of sustained preparation for and then battle with some of the biggest stars in the game.
The pressure doesn’t let up for Scotland as they fly to the Netherlands today for a T20 tri-series with their old Dutch and Irish rivals which will be their last taste of international action this summer, starting with a double-header against the latter on Saturday and Sunday.
In reality, it is a return to proper business after their taste of glamour the past few days as they seek the ranking points which will boost hopes of making the T20 World Cup in two years’ time, a tournament they dare not give a second’s thought to missing given the well-documented heartache of missing next year’s ODI extravaganza in England.
Looking back over a memorable four days at The Grange, Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer reflected with pride on how his team had captured the imagination of the nation and the wider cricketing world following that epic six-run win over England.
“It’s been a pretty special four days. I’d have said beforehand that, if we came out of these three games having won one of them, we’d have taken that,” he said.
“But having won the first one [against England] we were hoping to go on and get a second. It wasn’t to be but we’ve played some excellent cricket over the four days.
“The atmosphere has been superb, people have filled through the gates and that is an absolute credit to Scottish cricket and everyone involved in setting this up.
“These kind of occasions are where we want to be and that’s what we’ll be pushing forward for.”
Asked if England was the obvious one to win, Coetzer hesitated slightly, perhaps knowing that a win over the world No 1 side in the shortest format would have given a huge rankings boost for the 11th-place Scots in that race to reach Australia 2020.
“I guess with it being England, that made it a bit more special,” he finally agreed.
“But look, the guys have represented themselves extremely well. There has been a good culture amongst all of our players as well as the three teams who have competed since Sunday. There’s been a good vibe about.
“It’s been hard when it needed to be hard and the culture of the game has shone through on a couple of occasions too.
“We have to use every occasion we have as we don’t get many of them.”
On that topic, Coetzer, in his role as ambassador to the ICC on behalf of all the associate nations, said the push to get more exposure for the emerging nations will continue.
“We’ve said it for a while and I’ve harped on about it enough to be honest,” he said.
“More cricket is key but that has to be balanced with the top teams not playing too much cricket.
“There is a balance there but, hopefully, one can be found. Whether it’s us playing against, say, slightly lower ranked [top-tier] teams initially with the odd few games against the top teams. Any games are good, we just want to play. A little bit more is all we’re asking.”
After Coetzer lost a third toss in a row, Pakistan batted first again and, with conditions slowing slightly after what had been a lightning wicket on Sunday and Tuesday, they settled for 166 for six.
Shoaib Malik top-scored with 49 from 22 balls, after posting 204-4 the previous afternoon.
The Scots gave themselves a sniff by taking regular wickets to stall the Pakistani charge but, when they came out to bat in continuous light rain and fast-cooling conditions, the bowling proved too hot.
To the umpires’ credit, they allowed the game to continue despite the rain, although it did come to a premature end as Scotland managed to bat only 14.4 overs before tailender Alistair Evans edged behind to give Pakistan the victory.
Before that, Richie Berrington (20) and the hero of Sunday’s win over England Calum MacLeod (25) were the only Scottish batsmen able to make any contributions of note.
“For some guys it was their first experience of this kind of exposure,” added Coetzer.
“They’re getting used to it. In the past few days, I hope they’ve been embracing it.”