It was on this day in 2018 when Scotland pulled off one of the greatest cricketing upsets, defeating England by six runs in an ODI at Edinburgh. Every Scotland batsman played their part but it was Callum MacLeod who slammed a solid century and helped his amass 371/5 in 50 overs. England then almost chased down the total but Scotland bowlers managed to hold their nerves and pulled off a thrilling win.
Prior to this encounter, Scotland had only two ODI wins over Full-Member nations. They beat Zimbabwe in June 2017 and Afghanistan in March 2018. They had earlier defeated Afghanistan and Ireland but those wins came before these two nations were given Full-Member status in June 2017.
There was still a lot of debate going around the International Cricket Council's decision to cut the 2019 World Cup to just 10 teams. Scotland were unfortunately denied a place in the 2019 mega-event when rain stopped their final match against West Indies in the qualifying tournament in March 2018. One of the associate nations needed to make a statement and it was Scotland who shocked the world by getting the better of the top-ranked ODI side.
THE BRILLIANT MACLEOD
MacLeod walked in to bat at No. 3 but by then Scotland already had 103 runs on the board. Openers Matthew Cross and Kyle Coetzer got their team off to a rapid start after England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and opted to bowl first. The two went after Mark Wood and David Willey from the word go as the surface was conducive for batting. The home side raced to 64 for no loss by the end of nine overs and even the introduction of Adil Rashid didn't slow them down. However, it was the legspinner who eventually stopped the bleeding when he had Coetzer caught behind for a 49-ball 58 in the 14th over.
Liam Plunkett then removed Cross for 48 and Scotland lost both of their openers in the space of two overs. MacLeod was slightly cautious at the start of his innings and was 11 off 14 at one stage. The right-hander started accelerating when Rashid and Moeen Ali were bowling in tandem as MacLeod made excellent use of the sweep shot. He went on to complete his fifty off just 37 deliveries and added 93 runs with Richie Berrington for the third wicket. Berrington was more sedate in his approach and scored a 54-ball 39 before becoming Plunkett's second victim.
Coming in at No. 5, George Munsey ensured MacLeod got most of the strike. MacLeod kept playing his shots and became the first Scotland player to score an ODI ton against England. Meanwhile, Munsey chipped in with a handy 51-ball 55. Dylan Budge and Michael Leask came in and played a couple of big shots but it was MacLeod who did most of the damage. He smoked 16 fours and three maximums in his 94-ball 140 and propelled Scotland to 371/5, the highest total by any Associate team in ODIs.
In response, Jonny Bairstow went berserk at the start of the second innings and smashed everyone all around the park. The right-hander reached his half-century off 27 balls and England were 107 for no loss by the end of the Powerplay. He added 129 in 12.4 overs with Jason Roy who scored 34 off 32 before falling to Mark Watt. Bairstow however kept the attack going and brought up his century off just 54 deliveries, becoming the first England batsman to score three consecutive centuries in ODIs.
It was Berrington who finally stopped the carnage when he had Bairstow caught at the boundary. Bairstow hammered 12 fours and six maximums in his 59-ball 105 and laid a solid platform for the remaining batsmen. England were 165 for 2 in 18 overs when Bairstow was dismissed and then Alex Hales (52) and Joe Root (29) added 55 runs for the third wicket. Everything was going well for England before Root was run out in the 27th over. From 220 for 2, England collapsed to 276 for 7 and it looked like Scotland would run away with the game.
Despite all the chaos, Moeen and Plunkett managed to remain calm in a tense atmosphere and added 71 runs for the eighth wicket. Moeen was hitting the ball like a dream and had already smashed three fours and as many sixes, but then came the twist as the left-hander was caught at long-on for when he was on 46, becoming Watt's third prey. Plunkett (47*) was batting smartly at the other end but Rashid got run out in the penultimate over before Safyaan Sharif pinned Wood on the toe, with an inswinging yorker, right in front of the stumps and sparked a wild pitch invasion, and celebration. What a day it was for Scotland and their fans!
"That was a very special day for all the players and everyone associated with cricket in Scotland. I received messages from people all around the globe congratulating myself and the team and the organisation. That shows how powerful one victory like that is for an associate member. It’s phenomenal how much the teams have improved even with huge challenges of lack of facilities. Games like the one against England in 2018, they won’t come around all the time, but they’ll certainly come around more often if we are able to play big games like that," Coetzer recently told Cricket.com.