Openers put on 112 as Scotland cruises past Italy’s 125/8 with plenty to spare
Electing to bat first, Italy lost wickets regularly and couldn’t string together good partnerships, resulting in a below-par score of 125 for 8, a total Scotland chased down in 17.3 overs.
Gareth Berg (24) and Andy Northcote (46), the openers, were Italy’s highest scorers, but the rest failed to get going. Neil Carter, who opened the bowling for Scotland, took 2 for 26 in four overs and Safyaan Sharif’s three overs fetched him 2 for 19. Matt Machan, Majid Haq and Rob Taylor picked up a wicket each. Haq was particularly impressive, giving away just 14 runs in four overs.
Set an easy target, Scotland faced no hiccups in chasing it down. Richie Berrington and Calum MacLeod, the openers, put the game out of Italy’s reach with a 112-run stand, and though both fell in the 15th over, the game was comfortably headed Scotland’s way. Berrington was dismissed for 52 off 44 balls and hit six boundaries. MacLeod’s 45-ball 56 included seven boundaries.
Carl Sandri, the offspinner, accounted for both openers, returning figures of 2 for 30 off four overs, while Vince Pennazza castled Matt Machan (1) cheaply soon after.
Following Machan’s early dismissal, Michael Leask and Kyle Coetzer ensured there were no more hassles, taking Scotland home with seven wickets in hand and 15 deliveries to spare.
MacLeod, who was declared the Man of the Match for his knock, said, “Great to get another fifty in a winning cause. There were nice conditions out there for batting, they seem to suit the way I bat, so hopefully it will work again for me in tomorrow’s match and help us qualify.”
Coetzer, the Scotland captain, was full of praise for MacLeod, who has been a consistent performer for Scotland.
“It was a great performance again today from the team, another convincing win. Calum has been outstanding. He has been a terrific Twenty20 player for us in the past and again in this tournament. He put his hand up and won couple of games for us, he has won Man of the Match again today deservedly.”
Scotland will now have to win its next match on Thursday, in order to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next year. “We are at the moment on four wins in the past four matches. The next match is really big for us, but we are taking every day as it comes and trying not put too much pressure on ourselves,” said Coetzer.
After this defeat, Italy is out of the reckoning for a spot in the ICC World Twenty20 2014. Damien Crowley, the captain, said, “I think we were probably 20-30 runs short. After pretty good start we just could not back it up with some good bowling. We bowled better in previous games. But yes, we walk off with our heads high and look to come back with stronger performances next time.”
Crowley added that his team had exceeded expectations in the tournament.
“I think we were sort of not expected to come in top five and get through the play-offs, so in that sense it has been a massive effort by the boys. We have put up a tough fight and it would have been nice to go further. Everybody comes to qualify and win and it was same for us. We wanted to win, but unfortunately it did not work for us today… a bit disappointed.”