Calum MacLeod’s latest half-century proved in vain yesterday as Scotland opened their Quadrangular T20 tournament with a disappointing defeat to the Netherlands at the Al Almarat Stadium, Oman.
Given a blistering start by George Munsey, who blasted 32 from just 11 balls, the Scots lost their way to find themselves wobbling on 44-4.
However, MacLeod, the ICC’s Associate player of the year, launched the recovery in partnership with Craig Wallace.
The pair put on 53 for the fifth wicket before Wallace departed for a hard-hitting 27. MacLeod went on to top-score with 53 from 45 deliveries, hitting seven boundaries before being bowled by Glamorgan paceman Timm van der Gugten.
With their dangerman gone, Scotland’s lower order batters were unable to produce acceleration in the closing overs as Kyle Coetzer’s men had to settle for a total of 153-7.
A century stand between openers Stephan Myburgh and Toby Visee then put the Dutch in control as the Scots bowlers toiled.
Visee went on to hit 71 – his highest T20I score – from just 43 balls with eight boundaries and three punishing maximums.
He was eventually bowled by Safyaan Sharif while Michael Leask and Mark Watt also claimed a wicket each as the Scots took the game into the final over only to lose on the penultimate delivery.
They will try to bounce back tomorrow with a rare win against old foes Ireland. The Irish got their campaign off to a winning start as skipper Paul Stirling led from the front as they secured a 15-run victory over hosts Oman.
Stirling hit 71 off 51 balls to help Ireland set a total of 159 for five in the opening session in Al Amarat.
Stirling and Kevin O’Brien put on 44 for the first wicket before the latter fell to Fayyaz Butt for 19.
After Stirling’s departure, also to Butt, Andy Balbirnie, with 34, and Lorcan Tucker – with an unbeaten 22 – also showed resistance.
Oman’s chase was hit by the loss of opener Khawar Ali on five in the second over, but Jatinder Singh (21) and Aamir Kaleem (21) dug in to frustrate the Irish attack.
But Simi Singh’s tenth-over double to remove Mehran Khan and captain Ajay Lalcheta swung the match firmly in Ireland’s favour.
Peter Chase removed Bilal Khan at the end of the 17th over as the hosts were all out for 144, 16 runs short of their victory target.
Meanwhile, England Lions are up against it after India made a commanding start on the first day of their second unofficial Test in Mysore.
India reached 282 for three at stumps, with Abhimanyu Easwaran leading the way with 117 before he was finally dismissed by Dom Bess.
Easwaran and KL Rahul had put on 178 for the first wicket until Rahul was the first to fall to Zak Chappell for 81.
The hosts continued to build after the departure of both openers, with Priyank Panchal achieving his half-century in 88 balls before he was dismissed by Tom Bailey with the last ball of the day.
England now face a tough task to end the mini-series on a high following a draw in the first match in Wayanad last week.