Toby Bailey, the interim Scotland head coach, effused praise on his team after they lifted the Quadrangular T20I trophy with a crushing win over tournament hosts Oman.
In a short tournament that allowed minimal margin for error, Scotland suffered defeat in their opening encounter, against the Netherlands. But they quickly put it behind and bounced back against a strong Ireland team in a high-scoring chase.
That was followed by the win against Oman in the tournament's last game. After bundling the home team out for 111, Scotland ran down the target in 15.3 overs with seven wickets in hand. The win put them equal with the Netherlands and Ireland on points, with all three teams on two wins each, but the margin was good enough to boost their net run-rate and finish on top.
A big congrats to @CalyHighlanders player @AdrianNeill making his debut today in a winning cause & also picking up the man of the match. Top effort from all the guys in winning the Oman Quadrangular series 🏆. Lots of WP & SP performances throughout 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 @CricketScotland 🏴🏴🏴— Kyle Coetzer (@MeerGoose11) February 17, 2019
“It was fantastic – the way we came back from the earlier defeat in the tournament, against the Netherlands,” Bailey said. “A few things were addressed after [the match], a lot of honesty was shared, and we brought that honesty into the game. We really want to make statements, where everyone plays strong, attacking cricket.”
Some of those traits were visible against Oman, where Scotland were unrelenting in their attack. “To bowl a side out and have short-legs in a T20 game is fantastic,” Bailey said. “It’s the sort of dynamic, brand of cricket we want to play.”
In a bold experiment, Scotland decided to hand a debut cap to right-arm medium pacer Adrian Neill for the final game. The 24-year-old had a day to remember, ending up with three wickets and the Player of the Match award.
“There was a big buzz on the field and everyone was really up for this last game,” Neill said. "You always hope it all goes well on your debut, so it’s nice to get early wickets and all that pressure and all those nerves just disappear. I was a bit nervous, sat quietly on the bus and put the headphones on. But when we were into it, everything just went back into place.”
That Neill was able to enjoy that sort of success was partly down to the pressure created early by new-ball bowler Alasdair Evans, who began the match with a wicket-maiden. Then, during the chase, Richie Berrington found some runs – 47 of them – to end a lean tournament on a high and see Scotland home.
“Adrian Neill was really a handful today and got three wickets,” Bailey said. “Evans started brilliantly again and set the tone, Richie Berrington coming into his own on these pitches was good to see.
"To get two run outs is fantastic, and then, when we went about our batting, it was pleasing to see Richie, who is just a calm and strong player, take us over the line. And Calum (MacLeod, who scored 29*) as well is in some great form at the moment and is playing that role beautifully."
While he didn’t stop short of praising individuals, Bailey made sure the gains made by Scotland as a team weren’t missed out. “What was really pleasing to see is the skills which we have developed – the boundary-hitting, the power-hitting … we won two boundary-counts in the last two games.
"We don’t often beat Ireland in the boundary count, won again today by a huge margin, and we only lost by one against the Dutch. Also pleasing is the leadership skills the guys have developed throughout the winter, the character we’ve shown and the responsibility they’re taking – that’s what’s taken us over the line in this tournament.
"It’s just great to get a trophy.”
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