#CWC15: New Zealand march on, but not before Scotland show fight

MATCH 6: New Zealand made it two-wins-in-two-matches as they beat Scotland by three wickets at the University Oval in Dundedin.

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“The best prepared Scotland team that has left the shores,” according to captain Preston Mommsen, was put under early pressure as they were reduced to 12 for four inside 26 balls after New Zealand had inserted them.

Trent Boult trapped Calum MacLeod and Hamish Gardiner lbw in consecutive deliveries while Tim Southee then had Kyle Coetzer caught by Grant Elliott and Mommsen leg before with successive balls.

Boult would finish with 2 for 21 from his six overs and the player of the match award.

But this Scotland side are not bottlers. It would have been easy to crumble, however only last month they smashed Afghanistan by 150 runs, beat Ireland by 179 runs in a tournament warm-up game and only narrowly lost to West Indies. They have the pedigree.

New Zealand v Scotland - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup

Matt Machan impressed with the bat for Scotland

Matt Machan decided he was not going to capitulate, instead he hooked Southee for six. His batting partner Richie Berrington followed suit and lofted Daniel Vettori straight and into the crowd. A partnership of 97 resulted as the pair bolted the wheels back on to their formerly floundering vehicle.

But just as Scotland fans had started to relax, Machan was cut attempting to pull Corey Anderson. He’d made 56 from 79 balls with 7 fours and a six, although he will know it could have been more as conditions for batting improved.

Berrington then misjudged another short ball from Anderson and was on his way for 50, with 4 fours and a six, but the repair job was not complete after all.

Vettori’s guile (3 for 24) further contributed to the final six wickets falling for only 33 runs as the Saltires ended on 142 all out.

New Zealand raced to the finish line inside 25 overs, which will have boosted their net run-rate, however the Scots made it tougher than they would have liked. Josh Davey and Iain Wardlaw (main photo with Vettori) bowled with serious skill, moving the ball off the seam and refusing to be intimidated by New Zealand’s big names.

Kane Williamson’s 38 from 45 balls was the best a Kiwi could manage. At 66 for two in the 11th over when Ross Taylor was dismissed by Haq, and then at 106 for three in the 18th when Williamson fell, the chase looked comfortable.

But the Scots are a tenacious race and they nibbled at their hosts heels all the way to the line.

Wardlaw’s movement accounted for Guptill, McCullum and Elliott who all edged to Matthew Cross behind the stumps. Wardlaw was guilty of a dropped catch and perhaps if things had been marginally different Scotland could have got even closer to a major upset than they did.

Scotland can move on to the auld enemy England with some lessons learnt, but a great deal of pride and fight in them. If England take them lightly they will regret it and come unstuck.

And for New Zealand a statistic bodes well. In the previous two ICC Cricket World Cups that Scotland have taken part in they have played the eventual tournament winner in their first match. The Kiwi’s certainly have what it takes to make that three-in-a-row.

“Credit to Scotland for the way they hung in there and to post a total after we had them 4 for 12,” said McCullum after the match. “I am pleased with the result in the end, we got a little bit nervous but we will take the points.

“We have world class bowlers and you have seen today how effective they can be, they were outstanding,” he continued. “A really good performance in the field and with the ball but we need to improve with the bat.”

Meanwhile, Mommsen was not dispirited: “It was a very tough start for us, the ball was doing a little bit more than expected.

“They bowled very well but credit to the way we batted through the middle but unfortunately we couldn’t push on. When we put the balls in the right areas we got rewards, we couldn’t get the last 3 wickets but I am very proud of the performance.”

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James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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