Muscat: Scotland boosted their chances of making it to the Super 12s of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 with a second consecutive win.
Richie Berrington struck an entertaining half-century before the Scotland bowlers, led by Josh Davey, had Papua New Guinea in early disarray to seal a 17-run win at the Oman Cricket Academy Ground.
An entertaining knock down the order by Norman Vanua gave PNG fans some late hope. He and Kiplin Doriga added 53 off just 29 balls, but having been 35/5 at one point in chase of a target of 166, PNG had left themselves too much to do.
With this loss, their second in the tournament, PNG will find it difficult to make it past the first round.
Earlier, Berrington’s 70 off 49 balls had been the core of Scotland’s 165/9. He added a crucial 92 runs with Matt Cross for the third wicket, amid a flurry of wickets at the start and the death.
Coming up against disciplined bowling in their chase, PNG lost five wickets in the Powerplay. Opener Tony Ura’s poor run in the tournament extended to a second game as he chopped on in the second over, giving Davey his first wicket of the day.
Having taken Brad Wheal for a four on the first ball of the over, Lega Siaka attempted to dance down the pitch again, only to edge to the wicket-keeper.
Alasdair Evans, playing his first game of this World Cup in place of Safyaan Sharif, had been welcomed with a flurry of fours in front of and behind square by Assad Vala. However, he had the last laugh: Vala, searching for the third boundary of the over, could only top edge to offer Wheal at mid-on an easy catch inside the circle.
Charles Amini was run-out thanks to a good throw from Michael Leask from the deep behind square. Three balls later, Berrington at point plucked the ball out of the air to send back Simon Atai and give Davey his second.
Coming in at No.7, Vanua hit Chris Greaves for back-to-back fours and found a couple of sixes off Wheal the very next over. It brought the equation down to 62 needed off 30 balls.
But with Doringa stumped off Mark Watt in the 17th over, and Vanua himself falling in the 18th, PNG’s last hopes faded. A slower ball bouncer from Davey that was gloved to Cross proved Vanua’s and PNG’s undoing.
The batters did well to take the game to the final over, but went down fighting in 19.3 overs. Davey finished with an excellent 4/18.
Earlier, after Scotland chose to bat, they found themselves in some trouble at 37/2 in the Powerplay.
George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer got off to a busy start, striking a couple of fours off both new-ball bowlers. However, Assad Vala’s bowling changes made an immediate impact.
Kabua Morea, the left-arm pacer, took pace off and got the ball to swing in to Coetzer, who was bowled. The next over, Munsey, who had as usual been strong on the sweep, was caught in the deep trying to attack Chad Soper.
Berrington and Cross then came together in the fourth over and steadied the innings. Having given themselves time to settle, they reached a steady rather than spectacular 67/2 at the halfway mark of the innings.
A 97m-six down the ground from Berrington off Siaka was the one bit of flourish in that period.
The 11th, 12th and 13th over, though, brought 42 runs, as both batters cleared the ropes with ease.
Cross, who was playing his 50th T20I, was circumspect early on, before he cut loose with a six over midwicket to bring up the fifty partnership. He fell five short of his half-century, caught in the deep after failing to connect properly against the left-arm spin of Atai.
Berrington, meanwhile, kept going. A four down the ground brought up his half-century, off 37 balls.
Berrington finally fell in the penultimate over: His pull was excellently caught in the deep by Amini, who had to cover considerable ground.
He was one of six wickets to fall in the last two overs. PNG upped their fielding and catching, even as the Scotland middle and lower order tried to add quick runs.
Morea finished with four wickets, while Soper had three. But despite all the runs saved, the early stumble in their chase proved costly.
Scotland play Oman in their final game, while PNG take on Bangladesh.