SCOTLAND’S World Cup qualification hopes suffered another blow with a second defeat against the United Arab Emirates this week after their hosts bettered their target of 206 with one ball to spare.
The UAE leapfrogged Scotland into second place in the ICC World Cricket League Championship with a two-wicket victory to follow their four-wicket triumph on Wednesday.
Kyle Coetzer top-scored for Scotland with 73 as the visitors made 205 for nine in their 50 overs, but UAE hit 209 for eight in a thrilling finale.
Scotland had travelled to Sharjah with a 100 per cent record and ambitions of replacing Ireland at the top of the table but they remain two points behind their Celtic rivals, and now UAE, with eight points from six games.
Scotland elected to bat but their innings started badly as Calum McLeod was bowled for two by Shadeep Silva.
Gordon Goudie got Scotland back on track with three sixes and three fours as opener Coetzer continued to produce runs but the former was also bowled by Silva, for 45.
Fraser Watts (32) and Preston Mommsen (22 not out) made their mark but Scotland struggled after Coetzer was bowled on 174 for five.
The hosts had reached 53 before Gordon Drummond caught Amjad Ali off Richie Berrington and they closed in steadily on their target. The finale proved a nervous affair for Scotland although Majid Haq gave them hope when he bowled Amjad Javed to take the eighth wicket and leave UAE needing six runs from seven balls. Shaiman Anwar eventually got the home side over the line when he hit four off the penultimate ball to finish on 77 and secure the victory.
Scotland now face Canada twice in Aberdeen in July in their next fixtures in the competition. The top two teams in the eight-team league automatically qualify for the 2015 World Cup with the rest getting another chance to seal two remaining places in a broader competition in 2014.