Scotland moved a step closer to next year’s World Cup by securing their place in the Super Six of the qualifiers with a four-wicket victory over Nepal.
For the second match running the Scots were indebted to captain Kyle Coetzer, whose unbeaten 88 sealed a four-wicket win at the Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo.
Having dismissed Nepal for just 149 after a fine display in the field, the Scottish run-chase was as unconvincing as it had been against Hong Kong two days earlier with wickets falling at regular intervals while Coetzer showed exemplary application.
Afterwards, Coetzer, named man of the match, said: “The guys are very happy with what we’ve achieved so far – getting to the Super Six was the first task. We’ve worked really hard to get where we wanted to be at this stage.
“For me I was happy to spend time in the middle and get some important runs. A couple of guys have put their hands up in previous games and hopefully others can do the same as we go through the tournament.
“The bowling has been a big plus – to bowl sides out three times is a great achievement and if we keep doing that we’ve be in a good place.”
Chasing 149, the skipper put on 33 with Matthew Cross for the first wicket before the latter edged to the slips to depart for 14.
Calum MacLeod helped Coetzer add 38 but when he and Richie Berrington were dismissed in quick succession to be followed by George Munsey, the Scots were wobbling on 87-4.
Craig Wallace sensibly nudged the singles as the target grew closer but, having reached 17, an expansive shot outside off stump proved his undoing as the ball flashed to the wicket-keeper.
When Mark Watt went cheaply, Scotland were still 28 runs short of the target and running out of recognised batsmen but Coetzer responded to the mini-crisis by going into overdrive, two maximums and a boundary in the space of eight balls clinching victory with 51 deliveries to spare.
In all the captain faced 136 balls, stroking seven fours and clearing the ropes three times.
Earlier Nepal were soon regretting their decision to bat as Stu Whittingham, making his first appearance of the tournament, grabbed his chance.
The Sussex pace bowler reduced the Nepalese top order to tatters with three quick wickets and, with Safyaan Sharif and Berrington also chipping in, Scotland had their rivals teetering on 39-5.
Sharif was first to strike in the second over when he ripped through Gyanendra Malla’s defences to remove the opener for a single.
Whittingham then took charge with a three-wicket burst including two in consecutive balls before Berrington had Aarif Sheikh caught behind by Cross.
It looked as if Scotland might rout Nepal for under 100 as they had done to Hong Kong two days earlier but skipper Paras Khadka had other ideas.
Khadka had support from Sampal Kami as Nepal rallied to reach 81 before the latter was brilliantly run out by Berrington’s direct hit.
But Khadka survived long enough to take the total to three figures before he was caught by Munsey off Tom Sole for a 75-ball 64 including ten fours.
The Scots were also frustrated by some resistance from the tail as Nepal hoisted their tally to 149 before Ali Evans ended the innings with his second wicket.
But for Coetzer’s heroics it might have been enough to send the Scots to their first defeat of the tournament. Instead they will face Zimbabwe on Monday in a Group B decider. The venue for that match has been changed by the ICC from Queens from the Bulawayo Athletic Club for “security purposes”.