White-ball cricket is leading to a democratisation of cricket globally, and Scotland has taken a step further with a historic victory over England.
Batting first at the picturesque Grange in Edinburgh, the Scotland batsmen fairly savaged the England bowlers, hammering them to all sides to post a mammoth 371-5.
This was only the fifth ODI between the two nations, and Scotland’s first win, which was ironic as Scottish coach Grant Bradburn had been talking his players up about ‘hunting history’ and even reminded them that, even though England were the top-ranked ODI side in the world, they would have to lose to Scotland eventually.
‘So why not Sunday?’ he had primed his charges before the match.
Openers Matthew Cross (48 off 39 balls) and Kyle Coetzer (58 off 49 balls) got the ball rolling with a partnership of 103 inside the first 14 overs. Enter Calum MacLeod, who batted through the rest of the innings to end undefeated on 140 off 94 balls (16 fours, three sixes) as the hapless England bowlers all went for over six runs to the over. It was his seventh ODI century, but his first against a Test-playing nation.
Despite Scotland’s undoubted euphoria going into the dressing room, they were under no illusion that there were plenty of runs in the pitch, and the England openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow made their intentions clear, bettering Scotland’s opening stand by raising 129 in under 13 overs together before the former was caught and bowled by Mark Watt for 34 off 32 balls. Bairstow continued in rampant fashion, taking England to 165 after just 18 overs when he was out for 105 scored from just 59 balls.
It was his third ODI ton in consecutive innings, and this beast of a knock came at a strike rate of 177.96 and included 12 fours and six sixes as he smashed the Scottish bowlers into submission. In so doing, he put his side into a dominant position in the match and, as number one in the world, they ought to have taken advantage of this great start.
However, from the moment Bairstow departed the England run-rate kept slipping down as the Scottish bowlers played with heart and passion to squeeze victory out of an imminent defeat. At the same time, crazy running led to two run outs while loose shots ensured that England kept leaking wickets. It was left to Scotland opening bowler Safyaan Sharif to trap England number 11 Mark Wood leg before with the second-last ball of the penultimate over to seal the historic win, and cue a hundred Scotsmen to storm the field in celebration.
Pick of the bowlers was Watt, whose 3-55 came at just 5.50 runs per over. Watt was backed up by impressive bowling from Alasdair Evans, who snared two English wickets and kept England to just 6.25 runs per over, while Richie Berrington also chipped in with two wickets.
For the hosts, there was the added pride in having bowled England out to claim an incredible victory.
Victorious Scotland skipper Coetzer said after the match that it had been ‘a hugely special day for us. Our coach said we should make history and we’ve done that. I’m extremely proud, but it is a trait we are getting very good at. The last couple of years we have been very good with the ball.’ Coetzer then summed up the drama of the day, saying that ‘371 plays 365 is outstanding’.
For English cricket, it has been a rough weekend following the solid defeat for the English Women against the Proteas Women, but England are not the number one ranked side in ODI cricket for nothing, so we should expect to see their men and woman come back all guns blazing.
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