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Test Match Special

The blog from the boundary

Big two too strong for Scotland

  • Simon Mann
  • 20 Mar 07, 09:03 PM

Simon MannScotland’s misfortune was to be drawn in the same group as the two top-rated sides in the world.

They might look on with admiration and just a little envy at Ireland’s exploits, but it is one thing embarrassing Zimbabwe and Pakistan and quite another to upset Australia and South Africa.

It made a refreshing change though to see one of the associate countries bat first. Scotland were put in, but they would have batted first if they had won the toss and that approach showed some ambition. There is no point coming to the World Cup intent solely on damage limitation.

Their best chance of victory was to post 240 and hope South Africa stumbled under the pressure of the chase - admittedly a long shot but more likely than Scotland successfully chasing the 300 plus that South Africa most probably would have recorded if they had batted first on a good pitch.

Some spectators booed Graeme Smith’s decision to field, anticipating it would rob them of sustained action. To some extent that was understandable, but it depends what you class as genuine entertainment. There is nothing duller in a one-day match than watching the side batting first pile up an unassailable score against an inferior team.

Andrew Hall runs out Paul HoffmannAt least the game had an edge to it when Dougie Brown, John Blain and Paul Hoffmann were flogging South Africa’s bowling with a mixture of the classical and agricultural in the closing overs of the innings.

Scotland’s batting up to that point had been determined but limited, emphasising the gulf in class between the sides.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting, when asked his opinion of the associate teams, urged them to watch closely and make sure they learn from the top sides. Against Scotland, South Africa provided an admirable lesson with their fielding; it was magnificent.

Herschelle Gibbs and AB de Villiers’s athleticism and dead-eye throwing created numerous moments of confusion against opponents unused to such sustained excellence - and de Villiers’s run out of Ryan Watson confirmed that Scotland would not reach their initial goal of scoring 200.

While South Africa move on to face Australia in a match worthy of the final itself, the Bonnie Army have one day to regroup before their cup final, against Holland.

John ‘the Dentist’ Maynard, the Nevis fast-bowler who has extracted some teeth with ball over the years, has been summarising for us on BBC radio and also bowling in the nets to the World Cup teams here. From his vantage point he backs Scotland to overcome the Dutch. It is best not to argue with him.

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  1. At 11:09 PM on 20 Mar 2007, andy wrote:

    scotland battled bravely, but never had a prayer.

    i have not had acess to the internet in the past few days, so i would simply like to say that the death of Bob woolmer has shocked me deeply. suddenly, the cricket seems totally irrelevant. God rest your soul Bob, our prayers are with you.

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  2. At 11:42 PM on 20 Mar 2007, Andrew Frayn wrote:

    Having seen the India match yesterday, I would have to argue the point about it not being entertaining watching teams pile up an unassailable total. That was some of the most fantastic hitting I've seen. It's simply that England can't, or don't, do it well enough which is the fact that rankles.

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  3. At 12:09 AM on 21 Mar 2007, senthil wrote:

    First things first .I feel sorry for Bob, he was a very good coach and a humble human being.
    I feel sorry for teams like scotland.They give their best ,but the problem is lack of cricket. I am sure that teams like scotland ,dutch can come up
    if they are given enought opportunities .The minnows are able to upset teams like pakistan and India,but when it comes to being competitive against top teams they struggle and invariable lose by a huge margin.What they can do to avoid this is by including them as 3rd side in no of one day series involving the top teams.
    And most of the players who represent this teams are amateurs ICC has to pay them properly .ICC has lot of money to take care 20 odd cricketeres for a year.It will encourage those players and also make the game a global one,

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  4. At 02:34 AM on 21 Mar 2007, Ewen wrote:

    I agree with your point, but since when was India not a top team? I always thought that Pakistan would struggle if the associate teams in their group played well, but India have a fantastic team at the moment. I think that that shows that any team can be beaten if they have a bad match.
    The idea of more cricket for the smaller teams is certainly the way forward. I'm not sure about the yearly Scotland-England fixture, though...

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  5. At 02:36 AM on 21 Mar 2007, Wes wrote:

    All in all, its a good experience for Scotland. It was always going to be hard for them having been placed in a group with world number one and two. Good effort.

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  6. At 08:42 AM on 21 Mar 2007, John wrote:

    It does beg the question - why is the top ranked associate side placed in the group with top ranked ODI sides?

    Is the thinking that they are best placed to deal with a hammering? My personal opinion is that the top ranked associate team should be drawn with the lowest ranked ODI sides in order to bring about some more realistic match-ups. I can see the incentive for the players of playing Australia and SA, but realistically, the game as a whole is better served by closer games.

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  7. At 08:43 AM on 21 Mar 2007, Davy wrote:

    I disagree with Simon's comments, fans want to see as much cricket as possible and that's what they'll most likely get if the stronger side bat first. I remember the 1999 World Cup in the UK when Scotland played the West Indies in Leicester, a miserable day in a crap town as Scotland won the toss and chose to bat first therefore robbing fans who had travelled near and far a decent days cricket...something that still strikes me as being selfish on the part of the Scotland side. The score? Scotland all out for 68 (31 overs), West Indies reply 70/2 after 10.1 overs. Money well spent on our part!

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  8. At 09:26 AM on 21 Mar 2007, Alex wrote:

    I agree totally. Obviously the same goes for Holland (as I live there, I feel obliged to drop that in, even though their results aren't quite as good).

    I asked a chap who regularly plays for Holland before the CWC, whether he would prefer playing against a lesser Full Member, and have a chance at an upset, or playing against the highest ranked Full Members. He said he'd choose the highest ranked, every time: "you can't beat the experience, and who knows when you might next be able to play against the best in the world, you heroes, if you are an Associate".

    I'll be very interested to see who wins tomorrow...

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  9. At 09:38 AM on 21 Mar 2007, Dave wrote:

    Your comment:

    "it's one thing embarrassing Zimbabwe and Pakistan and quite another to upset Australia and South Africa."

    I assume that you are a Scotland supporter? The truth however is that Ireland were 10 times better than Scotland in all aspects of the game. They surprised SA in the warm up game, which they should have won and beat Pakistan, the number 4 seeded team in the world.
    Thats a huge difference to what Scotland were able to produce or even come near. Any team that is able to defeat Pakistan would have given the Australian and SA boys a very good run for their money. Scotland unfortunately are playing in another lower league at the moment.

    Well done Ireland!!!

    Dave from SA

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  10. At 09:46 AM on 21 Mar 2007, Mark Skene wrote:

    I agree it was unfortunate that Scotland were drawn against numbers 1 and 2 in the world but surely as the top ranked associate side the ICC should've had some sort of ranking system to give them a slightly better chance.

    All credit to Ireland for championing the cause of the associtate nations. From the day the draw was made it looked like they had the best draw of the minows.

    Zimbabwe are by far the worst of the test playing nations, including Bangladesh who have improved greatly since 2003. Pakistan and West Indies are very inconsistant. An upset againt either of these 2 was much more likely than against South Africa and Australia.

    Although it needed a green pitch and a poor Pakistan batting performance they still had to chase a tricky total on the same green pitch. Well done Ireland.

    I'm not saying that given the same group Scotland would've qualified for the Super 8s as it's all on the day and who knows what would've happened but they would've had a far better chance than they did in the group they got.

    In future world cups perhaps the ICC should ensure that the lowest ranked teams in the full ODI rankings play the highest ranked teams in the associate rankings. This would increase the chances of an upset and help the progress of the smaller teams.

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  11. At 10:23 AM on 21 Mar 2007, Howard wrote:

    Scotland played well against South Africa and battled all the way, but they were just out classed. That doesn't do them, South Africa or the Worldwide development of Cricket any good.

    I would like to see the Cricket World Cup take on a similar structure to Rugby 7s tournaments. There the top qualifying teams from the groups stage play off among themselves for a trophy, as do all the second and third place teams in each group. Hence you have Cup, Bowl and Shield winners. This would give the minnows something realistic to aim for, and the spectators some genuinely competitive matches to enjoy.

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  12. At 10:33 AM on 21 Mar 2007, Chris wrote:

    Bangladesh are no minnows. They are a serious side and come the next world cup they will be geniune contenders. Scotlands performance in the World Cricket league showed that they have the bottle for the top level they just lack the skills which is unsurprising as they rarely get to compete at the top level. Kenya showed at the last world cup and ireland at this one that the minnows have the right to be in the competition especially with the set up as it is which gives the super 8 teams most of the competition with the others just a sniff of crashing the party

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  13. At 11:28 AM on 21 Mar 2007, Steve M wrote:

    Just look at Ireland who would of thought they'd be in the position they are in now before the world cup????

    I think its great with the so called 'minnows' being in the tournament, we some see more of these teams playing test cricket because how else are we going to bridge the gap

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  14. At 12:30 PM on 21 Mar 2007, Collin wrote:

    Which cricket nation have the best fans when thet sides are playing .I think SA has the best,they full of energy and color.What do you think

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  15. At 12:31 PM on 21 Mar 2007, Val Kenny wrote:

    D'ont be looking down on Ireland just because ye cant beat the big 2, Ireland give South Africa a close call in the challenge game before world cup started. To be honest and no offence to Scotland are not a good a side as Ireland even though results not too long ago suggests otherwise!

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  16. At 01:11 PM on 21 Mar 2007, Graeme wrote:

    I agree with Simon's point, Australia and South Africa were never going to lose to Scotland or Holland as they have more of a winning mentality thatn the other teams and when they get into difficulty up the stakes where other teams don't. That's not to decry Ireland's achievement in beating Pakistan and probably qualifying for the Super 8s.

    Ireland and Scotland are very evenly matched as results over the last couple of seasons show and even if playing England annually isn't seen as likely by the ECB I think a triangular series against England A or even the Academy squad would be a good way to increase competitive games for these nations. You only improve in any sport by playing against superior opposition.

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  17. At 01:12 PM on 21 Mar 2007, Scott wrote:

    Dave from SA, you are absolutely wrong, Scotland have consistantly beat Ireland in Associate competitions in recent years where these countries are playing like with like, to suggest Ireland are 10 times better than Scotland because they have a fantastic one off result against Pakistan and a tie with crisis torn Zimbabwe clearly demonstates your lack of cricket knowledge.

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  18. At 01:27 PM on 21 Mar 2007, Mike E wrote:

    It's a shame that the top 2 are clearly the first class nations and the top 2 qualify for the next round. It would be better to see more of the minnows advance. I agree with the suggestion of a "plate" for the lower teams. Although in this case Pakistan would be hot favourites (expecting them to recover) at least the games would be competitive and the lower teams would participate longer than a couple of weeks of a 6-week (!) tournament.

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  19. At 03:04 PM on 21 Mar 2007, Mautan wrote:

    Do not agree with the article.
    I do not think it is the misfortune of Scotland and Netherland that is to blame. I will give you the reason why.
    Scotland will now be playing in their 8th game at WC level, whereas, Holland have played even more than that. These two teams are the equivalent of a first class cricketer who is good at first class but falls short at test level. These two are very good at the associate level but when it comes to the internationa WC level, they lack the bottle.
    Look at the following examples..
    Sri Lanka beat India in 79 as an associate country
    Zimbabwe beat Australia in 83 and England in 92 as associates,
    Kenya beat WI in 96 and has beaten almost everyone after that atleast once,
    Bangladesh beat Pakistan in 99 as an associate,
    Canada beat Bangladesh in 2003 were close to beating Kenya also in 2003,
    Irelend tied with Zim and beat Pakistan in 2007, (almost beat SA in warm up too)
    So when you look at all these examples, there is not much of an excuse for these Scots and Neds. They have had other opportunities before these two games but have ALWAYS blown them. They didn't always play aganist AUS and SA before this WC..
    So to me...they just cannot raise their game they play the same game against Canada as they would against Aus.
    Do not agree with the article.

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  20. At 03:24 PM on 21 Mar 2007, mautan wrote:

    Do not agree with the article.
    I do not think it is the misfortune of Scotland and Netherland that is to blame. I will give you the reason why.
    Scotland will now be playing in their 8th game at WC level, whereas, Holland have played even more than that. These two teams are the equivalent of a first class cricketer who is good at first class but falls short at test level. These two are very good at the associate level but when it comes to the internationa WC level, they lack the bottle.
    Look at the following examples..
    Sri Lanka beat India in 79 as an associate country
    Zimbabwe beat Australia in 83 and England in 92 as associates,
    Kenya beat WI in 96 and has beaten almost everyone after that atleast once,
    Bangladesh beat Pakistan in 99 as an associate,
    Canada beat Bangladesh in 2003 were close to beating Kenya also in 2003,
    Irelend tied with Zim and beat Pakistan in 2007, (almost beat SA in warm up too)
    So when you look at all these examples, there is not much of an excuse for these Scots and Neds. They have had other opportunities before these two games but have ALWAYS blown them. They didn't always play aganist AUS and SA before this WC..
    So to me...they just cannot raise their game they play the same game against Canada as they would against Aus.
    Do not agree with the article.

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  21. At 03:33 PM on 21 Mar 2007, george light wrote:

    thanks for the update i"m a south african living in the u.k and don"t have much info on cricket . any ideas where one could play socially in london?

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  22. At 04:35 PM on 21 Mar 2007, CHAS DOC wrote:

    As a Scotland football fan I am not sure that I wanted the Saltires to do well in the Cricket World Cup.

    If they did then more kids might have wanted to take up the "game" instead of the world's number one sport of football.

    Cricket is very much a minority sport.

    Remember last year at the time of the real World Cup playe din Germany? Almost every car down here in London had a St Georges flag- now none.

    Total lack of interest by the population.

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  23. At 04:50 PM on 21 Mar 2007, Mac wrote:

    The likes of Scotland can only get better at ODIs, so the chances of the so called minnows upsetting the better teams will only increase. The next World Cup will a more open and competitive tournament - South Africa and Australia beware.

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  24. At 06:47 PM on 21 Mar 2007, Admiral Freddie Pedalo wrote:

    Hello #8, Alex in the Netherlands;
    I take your point about the Dutch internationalist who would rather play against the top players. However, the Irish, having been given a fair chance to progress, now face the prospect of playing all the top names over the next month. Scotland, despite being ranked higher than Ireland and despite having beaten the Irish in qualifying, weren't given a dog's chance of emerging from a group containing two sides who will thrash most of the Test nations, never mind the associates.
    The question for the ICC to address is whether being thrashed by the very best sides is a suitable reward for the top Associate member; or is playing the likes of Zimbabwe a more effective way to promote the raising of the standard of play in the country which, technically, has the best chance of aspiring to Test status? On this point, I totally agree with John,#6.

    I would also add my support to Howard's excellent suggestion (#11) which would be of tremendous value in promoting the game to a wider audience and encouraging progress.

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  25. At 07:22 PM on 21 Mar 2007, A_Findlater wrote:

    george light - there are so many clubs in london

    www.play-cricket.com will give you a list.

    enjoy

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  26. At 07:45 PM on 21 Mar 2007, Rod wrote:

    Small request (probably not the appropriate place to put it but anyway...) could we have the strike rate for the batsmen and the economy rate for the bowlers on the averages page, please. The economy rate particularly is far more relevant than the average.

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  27. At 08:01 PM on 21 Mar 2007, Dougie wrote:

    We are improving i think we will do better at the 20 20 world cup

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  28. At 11:31 PM on 21 Mar 2007, Jaap wrote:

    I think it's wonderful that amateurs from the associate countries can play in the world cup; it is a major milestone in the their lives.

    One thing has puzzled me: Shouldn't Ed Joyce have been "cup tied" for the world cup? I mean, he helped Ireland to qualify for the event, and now turns out in that same event for England.

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  29. At 12:15 AM on 22 Mar 2007, Hari wrote:

    Unfair comparison. Ireland needed to get at least 3 points out of the next weakest team i.e. Zimbabwe and one of WI / Pak. Similarly Scotland needed to get at least 3 points out of Holland and one of Aus / SA. I could argue that 1-2 points against Zimbabwe despite their travails is more difficult than 1-2 points against Holland. Plus Ireland almost had SA beaten in their prep match as a number of people pointed out.

    I am surprised that most folks were thrown off by the sleight of hand here.

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  30. At 06:11 AM on 22 Mar 2007, Aust guy wrote:

    Congrats Scots,

    I, like so many others value the effort and good sportsmanship the Scots (and the dutch, Irish, Bangladesh) have displayed in this world cup. All have played to win, all have played to learn, and all have been humble in victory and defeat.

    Some say it is not good these emerging cricketing nations play in the world cup, but I disagree. Sure, traditions are great, but the Ashes will always remain... imagine a local darby between the Scots and the English (has potential to be as big as the Ashes)! or the Irish vs. Scots or England (aka war on home soil) in a three way tournament or test series. I would definately expect the first series to be heavily one sided, so perhaps start with one dayers to promote the sport in the countries, and when the player base is right, and the funding is good... maybe a competitive test series could emerge against the Poms!

    Being an Aussie, I would love that... the potential for this game is great, and even the Americans or Japanese could form great teams with Baseball being huge sports in their respective countries, and the skills being similar if not the same!

    So in conclusion, well done Scotties, and the other under dog boys... you made a hell of an effort and I think all have got better from this experience... baby steps and who knows, in maybe 10-20 years these teams could really contest if they have the right funding, base of players and experience (only gained through playing everyone else).

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