EDINBURGH: The Grange Cricket Club was the stage for one of the great one-day international matches, and results, on Sunday 10 June as Scotland first put up a mammoth 371/5 and then held on to beat England by six runs.
According to ICC, the home boys will be back in the middle on Tuesday, and then Wednesday, to try and ride on the high from the England win and put it past Pakistan in a series of two Twenty20 Internationals, which will wind up the visitors’ tours of Ireland, England, and Scotland.
It’s a different format, but one in which Scotland have a decent record: 18-23 in 45 games. But, though it happened over a decade ago, they lost their only T20I against Pakistan back in Durban in the ICC World T20 2007, when Pakistan slammed 171/9 and bowled Scotland out for 120.
More crucially, Pakistan are the No.1 side in the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Team Rankings while Scotland are at No.11, and that might stand for something when the teams go out in the middle. Having said that, Scotland have just defeated the No.1 ODI side in the world.
For Scotland, the disappointment of missing out on a spot in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 couldn’t have been papered over by the win over England, but as Calum MacLeod, their star of the win with a 94-ball 140*, said, “this was a special day; it is up to us now to build on it”.
That’s what they will go out and try to achieve against the top team in the world, with the playing XI for the England game all available to choose from.
MacLeod was the hero of the memorable triumph, but Matt Cross (48), captain Kyle Coetzer (58), Richie Berrington (39) and George Munsey (55) all got good runs in the game and will hope to put up strong shows against Pakistan too.
Among the bowlers, in a match where 736 runs were scored in 98.5 overs at an overall rate of 7.4, Mark Watt (5.50), Alasdair Evans (6.25) and Safyaan Sharif (7.22) held their own, and that is a good sign for Scotland too, enough to give them confidence especially in home conditions.
For Pakistan, it has been a largely successful tour, though the international action has so far been restricted to Test cricket. They first beat Ireland in the home side’s maiden Test match by five wickets and then took a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series against England with a nine-wicket win at Lord’s, before going down by an innings and 55 runs at Headingley.
Now, off the field since the end of the second Test on 3 June, they have two more days of action before finishing up, and they will want to do it on a high.