World T20: Black Caps knock Scotland out to keep semi-final hopes alive
Scotland were eliminated from the Men’s T20 World Cup by a 16-run defeat against New Zealand. Opener Martin Guptill hit a terrific 93 off 56 balls as New Zealand recovered from 52-3 to post 172-5 in Dubai.
In a spirited reply, Scotland were going well at 100-3 after 14 overs but fell short despite Michael Leask’s brutal unbeaten 42 off 20 balls.
Victory renewed New Zealand’s hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals from Group 1 of the Super 12s.
Wins over Namibia and second-placed Afghanistan – who face India in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday – will take the Black Caps into the last four.
Positives to take from Scotland
While Scotland have lost their three Super 12 games, they had arguably exceeded expectations by topping Group B in the qualifying round, which included a superb win over Bangladesh.
Poor performances against Afghanistan and Namibia in the Super 12s suggested it could be another one-sided contest against New Zealand, but Scotland held their own.
Seamer Safyaan Sharif’s hard work and disciplined bowling was rewarded with two wickets in the fifth over, including New Zealand captain Kane Williamson for a four-ball duck.
Spinner Mark Watt has also impressed this tournament – he has gone at 5.22 runs per over in six matches – and he enjoyed another fine spell with the ball, finishing with 1-13 from four overs.
It was also a much better display by Scotland’s batters, and perhaps their most memorable moment of the competition came in the fifth over of their chase when Matthew Cross hit New Zealand fast bowler Adam Milne for five consecutive four.
Scotland face India in Dubai on Friday and Pakistan in Sharjah on Sunday in their final two games.
Guptill powers New Zealand to glory
Having beaten pre-tournament favourites India on Sunday, this was another solid win for New Zealand with opener Guptill leading the way.
He hit six fours and seven sixes and shared a 105-run fourth-wicket partnership with Glenn Phillips.
Guptill struggled in the heat at times, kneeling down between deliveries on several occasions, but became only the second man to reach 3,000 runs in T20 internationals, after India’s Virat Kohli.
Having lost to Pakistan in their opening game, New Zealand’s fate is now in their own hands and they may just be peaking at the right time. (BBC Sport)