Scotland know other teams will be looking at them as one of the sides to beat in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2, and they are geared up for the challenge.
Scotland are No.14 on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings, making them the highest-placed among the seven teams in the tournament. They, along with Namibia, Nepal, Oman, PNG, UAE and USA, will each play 36 ODIs across 21 tri-series over two-and-a-half-years, with the top three teams making it to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2022.
Scotland, who had narrowly missed out on a chance to finish in the top two in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 and thus feature in the premier event in England and Wales in 2019, are channelling that disappointment into their performances in a new cycle.
Great to be back! Thanks for hosting the @CricketScotland team 💪🏴 https://t.co/rcsUclTDlq— Matthew Cross (@crossy16) August 14, 2019
They kick their campaign off at home, hosting Oman and PNG in a tri-series between 14 and 21 August in Aberdeen.
"There is no doubt we are going to be the team to beat in this competition," Shane Burger, the coach, told BBC. "All the six teams are coming for us being the highest-ranked team within the division.
''After the heartache of being so close [in 2018], I am sure it would have sparked a motivation within the players to get to the next one," Burger said.
Oman claim a thrilling victory over PNG in the first game of the Men's Cricket World Cup League 2 at Aberdeen!— ICC (@ICC) August 14, 2019
They chased down 230 with four wickets and five balls in hand. Sandeep Goud top-scored from No.7 with 67* off 72 balls.#OMAvPNG pic.twitter.com/tDHDNfDfsP
“Both Oman and Papua New Guinea are dangerous teams," Matthew Cross, the Scotland wicket-keeper, told Press and Journal. "They will play an aggressive brand of cricket and will have no fear. We might be seen as the scalp and that’s a pressure we have to embrace a little bit. It’s a good thing for people to see us that way – we want to be talked about as the next member nation."
Cross believed the team's depth will help them progress through the tournament. "The World Cricket League gives us a great chance of playing in 2023 [World Cup] now ... We’ve got good depth now, which is something we’ve maybe not always had.
"Shane Burger has been a breath of fresh air; he tries to work with us as individuals to make us better players and make the team better. It’s been a new lease of life for the guys."