Scotland have put one leg into the Super 12s with a 17-run over Papua New Guinea (PNG) in Match 5 of the T20 World Cup 2021. Chasing 166, PNG were struggling right from the beginning, having lost half their side inside the powerplay.
In pursuit of 166, Norman Vanua gave Scotland a bit of a scare but in the end, they held on to make it two in two. PNG, on the other hand, are out of contention for a place in the next round but will look to take something out of the tournament when they take on Bangladesh in two days’ time.
Richie Berrington (70) scored Scotland’s first-ever fifty in a T20 World Cup and his 92-run stand for the third wicket with Matthew Cross (45) helped set up a terrific platform for his side. At that stage, Scotland were eyeing a score in excess of 180, but PNG pulled things back, with Chad Soper (3 for 24) picking up two wickets in the penultimate over, which helped pull things back to a certain extent.
Left-arm pacer Kabua Morea too bowled exceedingly well, finishing with career-best figures of 4 for 33. Morea and Soper triggered Scotland’s collapse as they lost their last six wickets for just 14 runs from 11 deliveries. As a result, PNG went into the break with a bit of momentum.
Barring Oman, no other team has made the best use of the powerplays at Al Amerat. It was no different today as Scotland were reduced to 37 for 2 from their first six overs. PNG looked more switched on today than they did a couple of days ago when they were defending just 129 against Oman.
PNG, who managed 40, in the first six overs against Oman got had lost half the battle after putting up 35 for 5 in this game, which put them behind the nine-ball right from the outset.
Coming into bat in a tricky position, Berrington once again showed his class as he and Cross, not just resurrected the innings after losing two wickets, but also stepped on the accelerator which left the PNG bowlers clueless. PNG bowled a fourth or fifth stump line to Berrington, who looked up for the task smashing them down the ground with ease. In fact, 47% of his runs were hit in the ‘V’ down the ground – an indication that the Barramundi’s plans against the Scot batsman did not work.
Cross, who has been a consistent performer for Scotland, kept the scoreboard ticking, but in a bid to accelerate with a little over five overs to go, he skied on to Charles Amini in the deep.
Berrington, who scored just 186 runs 26.57 in the 2019 T20 World Cup Qualifiers, has since smashed 342 runs at 68.40 at a strike-rate of 126.19. Only two other players – Azhar Adani of Portugal and Nepal’s Kushal Bhurtel average better than Berrington in this period.
Norman Vanua salvages some pride for PNG
With PNG in deep trouble, Norman Vanua, who has a strike-rate of 150 in T20Is, muscled a few out of the park to give his side a glimmer of hope, but it was too much to do for him in the end. He has on more than one occasion dug PNG out of a precarious position, but despite his best of efforts, could not manage to do it this time around.
PNG needed 62 from the last five overs – an achievable feat – had they not lost so many wickets early on. Vanua put on 53 off 28 for the seventh wicket with Kiplin Doriga (18) to give PNG some hope, but Mark Watt broke the partnership with a clever delivery outside off to get the PNG ‘keeper out stumped.
PNG needed 46 off 22 at that stage, but Josh Davey returned to dismiss Vanua for 47 off 37 to all but confirm a victory for Scotland.
Davey barely gave anything away in this match, picking up four crucial wickets along the way. To finish with figures of 4 for 18 from 3.3 overs, which are his best bowling figures in T20Is.
He started off with the wicket of Tony Ura at the top and also finished things off with the wicket of Chad Soper in the end. Majority of his deliveries were either back of length or short, which did not sit too well with the PNG batsmen.
Scotland, who have picked up maximum points in the tournament so far will go through if Bangladesh lose to Oman in the second match of the day. However, they have given themselves a terrific chance to make it through to the next round.
Scotland 165 for 9 in 20 overs (Richie Berrington 70, Matthew Cross 45; Kabua Morea 4 for 31) beat PNG 148 in 19.3 overs (Norman Vanua 47, Sese Bau 24; Josh Davey 4 for 18) by 17 runs
Player of the match: Richie Berrington