Scotland ICC World Twenty20 2016 Tournament Preview and Guide
Joint winners of the ICC Qualifier, Preston Mommsen’s team is quietly confident of topping its group and making the Super 10s
05 March 2016 13:30
In the last year, Scotland seems to have found a winning formula for Twenty20 cricket. In Preston Mommsen, it has a leader who is unwilling to yield without a fight and has taught his team to compete till the last ball. Scotland finished as joint winners alongside Netherlands in the ICC World T20 Qualifiers, where it won four matches on the trot to reach the final. It comes into the main event on the back of wins against Netherlands and Hong Kong, and will be looking to carry that form into the tournament.
History: The ICC World Twenty20 2016 will be Scotland’s third appearance in the competition, and its first since 2009. In the ICC World T20 2009, Kyle Coetzer's catch to dismiss AB de Villiers provided one of the highlights of the tournament. Of the five editions so far, it qualified for the first two (2007 and 2009), but didn’t manage to win any match in either year, with three losses and one washout. The closest that Scotland came to victory was in a rain-reduced seven-over match against New Zealand at the Kennington Oval in 2009, where Coetzer and Ryan Watson’s fireworks were trumped by Jesse Ryder’s heroics.
Captain: Preston Mommsen
Coach: Grant Bradburn
Preview: Scotland made only one change to the squad that travelled to Hong Kong and Dubai earlier this season. In a like-for-like replacement, Gavin Main was called up in place Bradley Wheal, the right-arm fast bowler. Maine will join Josh Davey, Richie Berrington, Alasdair Evans and Safyaan Sharif in Scotland’s already strong pace attack.
The batting will revolve around the likes of Kyle Coetzer, Preston Mommsen and Matt Machan, with Matthew Cross, George Munsey and Rob Taylor chipping in towards the end. The spin department consists of Con de Lange, Mark Watt and Michael Leask.
Scotland will face tough challenges from Afghanistan, who beat the team in the World T20 Qualifiers, and Zimbabwe in its group. If recent T20 form is anything to go by though, it should fare well. The squad consists of a good mix of youth and experience, but much will depend on how quickly the players adjust to subcontinental conditions.
"We have another opportunity to show the world what we're about. We've got a good group and have a realistic potential of making it through to the next round. We need some things to go our way but we're certainly playing for a place in the next round.”
Strengths: Kyle Coetzer and Preston Mommsen are two of Scotland’s key players at the top of the order. They are experienced campaigners and have done well in pressure situations for their country. Matthew Cross has also shown his liking for the big stage with impressive performances in the ICC World T20 Qualifier in Ireland, where he was Scotland’s second highest run-getter with 184 runs behind Coetzer. They will be key to Scotland’s campaign in the ICC World T20 2016.
Scotland also boasts of a strong pace attack with the likes of Richie Berrington, Alasdair Evans and Safyaan Sharif. Mark Watt, the 19-year-old left-arm spinner, who now has the burden of leading the spin contingent is coming off impressive performances in Dubai where he picked up career best figures of 5 for 27 against Netherlands.
Recent form: Won against Hong Kong by 5 wickets, Lost to Hong Kong by 9 wickets, Won against Hong Kong by 37 runs, Lost to United Arab Emirates by 9 runs, Won against Netherlands by 37 runs.
Star player: Kyle Coetzer
Kyle Coetzer is the marquee player in Scotland's ranks. Although his name suggests African descent, Coetzer was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and made his ODI and T20I debuts in 2008. He is a right-hand top-order batsman and is currently Scotland's highest run-scorer in T20Is with 687 runs in 32 matches at an average of 23.68 and a strike rate of 113.55.
Coetzer was one of Scotland's bright lights in the 2009 edition of the ICC World T20, with scores of 33 in a rain-affected match against New Zealand , and 42 against South Africa. He has grown in stature since then, becoming one of Scotland's most reliable batsmen at the top of the order.
Ever since he was replaced by Preston Mommsen as captain in 2014, Coetzer has batted with a new sense of freedom, notching up both his highest ODI and T20I scores. His 156* came against Bangladesh in the ICC World Cup 2015 and is the highest score by a batsman from an Associate nation in an ODI. More recently, he topped his highest T20I score with a knock of 70 against Hong Kong.
One to watch: Matthew Cross
Matthew Cross has shown much promise as a wicket-keeper batsman since his debut in 2013. He has played 16 T20Is and scored 282 runs at an impressive strike rate of 139.60.
He first rose to the limelight when he was named as vice-captain of the Scotland Under-19 squad that participated in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2012. Impressive performances meant he proceeded to make his T20I debut in 2013 and ODI debut in 2014. The 23-year old scored two half-centuries at the top of the order in Scotland's journey to the ICC World Cup 2015 where he impressed one and all with his sharp work behind the stumps.
In a T20I series preceding the ICC World T20 Qualifiers against Ireland, Cross bagged the Player of the Series award with scores of 60 in 33 balls and 48 in 30 balls. He carried the good form into the qualifying tournament, scoring 184 runs at an average of 36.80 and a healthy strike rate of 157.26.
#That6Hitter: Preston Mommsen
Preston Mommsen, the Scotland captain, has hit 17 sixes in his 36-match Twenty20 career. His 610 runs have come at a strike rate of 129.51. In the World T20 Qalifiers last year, Mommsen scored 154 runs at an average of 77.00 and a strike rate of 171.11-- the seventh best of the tournament. With 10 sixes in seven innings, he was the fifth highest six-hitter in the competition, and the best placed in his team. Mommsen also scored a 44-ball 68 not out against Netherlands in his team's journey to the final, which included two hits over the fence.
The Scotland team’s average age is 26.11, making them the youngest Associate team in the ICC World T20 2016. They are also the fourth youngest team overall in the competition this time.
Kyle Coetzer is Scotland’s highest run getter in T20Is with 687 runs in 32 matches.
Richie Berrington has scored the only century for Scotland in a T20I— 100 off 58 deliveries against Bangladesh at The Hague in 2012. The next highest score is Kyle Coetzer’s 70 against Hong Kong in January 2016.
Alasdair Evans's figures of 5-24 against Netherlands in the ICC World T20 Qualifier in Ireland are the best figures for a Scottish bowler in a T20I. Mark Watt is the only other bowler from Scotland to take a five-for in T20Is.
Key match: Afghanistan
Scotland will want to erase the memories of its encounter against Afghanistan in Dunedin in the ICC World Cup 2015 where it lost by one wicket. With Afghanistan 97 for 7, a Scotland victory looked a mere formality, but Samiullah Shenwari’s 96 almost single handedly changed that, before Hamid Hassan (15 not out) and Shapoor Zadran (12 not out) finished the job. Scotland has the opportunity to right that result in their very first match of the ICC World T20 2016 on March 8 when it faces Afghanistan in Nagpur.
Scotland lost to its old nemesis again in the ICC World T20 Qualifiers, before winning four matches on the trot to reach the final. It is yet to win a T20I against Afghanistan, but Preston Mommsen’s men certainly have it in them to come out on top under pressure.
What people are saying about them:
"Post the 2015 World Cup, we wanted to make sure we keep qualifying for these major events and make sure we made the most of the exposure we gained from the previous World Cup. We've done that in qualifying and now we have another opportunity to show the world what we're about. We've got a good group and have a realistic potential of making it through to the next round. We need some things to go our way but we're certainly playing for a place in the next round.”—Preston Mommsen, the Scotland captain.
"We have an excellent mix of youth and experience across the squad, with every player offering dynamic specific skills in this format. India presents a huge challenge for the team. However, it also presents a fantastic opportunity which we are all looking forward to. We have five warm-up fixtures in India to adapt to conditions and to complete our team preparation to unleash our very best skills, at this global tournament."—Grant Bradburn, the Scotland coach.
“We knew going into the qualifying event that we would come up against some tough opponents and in the middle of the campaign we had a bit of a blip, but we regrouped and the way that we fought back showed what this team is all about,”—Alasdair Evans, the Scotland fast bowler.
Pommie Mbangwa Prediction – Scotland: Group Stage
Having seen them over in Malahide and Edinburgh, they are rather erratic and I can't see them getting past the groups. Theirs is a young squad even though the likes of Preston Mommsen, Kyle Coetzer and Richie Berrington have been around a while and are known to some.
Scotland squad: Preston Mommsen (capt), Kyle Coetzer (vice-captain), Alasdair Evans, Calum MacLeod, Con de Lange, Gavin Main, George Munsey, Josh Davey, Mark Watt, Matt Machan, Matthew Cross, Michael Leask, Richie Berrington, Rob Taylor, Safyaan Sharif.
Tuesday, March 8: v Afghanistan, Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur
Thursday, March 10: v Zimbabwe, Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur
Saturday, March 12: v Hong Kong, Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur