Cricket: Ali Evans wants to make home advantage count

Ali Evans believes he has honed his T20 game
Ali Evans believes he has honed his T20 game
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Carlton cricketer Ali Evans is hopeful that he and his Scotland team mates can put their local knowledge to good use as they get ready to play six ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers in Edinburgh over the next week-and-a-half.

Between tomorrow and July 26 Scotland and Ireland will host the qualifying event for the big tournament in India next year – with 14 nations battling it out for six spots.

The top sides from Group A and Group B will qualify automatically, with the other four spots being sorted out following play-off matches in Ireland.

The Grange, Goldenacre and Myreside are the venues in the Capital being used for Group B encounters and all three have shown up well this week so far while hosting warm-up matches.

Between the three Edinburgh grounds there will be a total of 16 tournament matches played between tomorrow and July 18.

Scotland have beaten Namibia and Jersey in their warm-up outings and ahead of tomorrow’s opener with the UAE at The Grange (10am) Evans is buzzing.

The 26-year-old seam bowler said: “It has been good to start off the whole qualification process with two warm-up wins this week, while obviously we were in Ireland last month and managed to come away with two cracking wins over there.

“The trip to Ireland was a great exercise for us, actually being able to get away and get some T20 cricket under our belts and the guys were given the chance to actually hone their skills out there in the 
middle in this format with both bat and ball.

“As a result we are now we are all in a good place regarding where we are as a team and because we know these conditions and we know these grounds and we have to utilise that as best we can.

“We are looking forward to going out there and giving it a really good crack.”

Evans has been around the Scotland squad for a number of years, including playing in the 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, however the Ireland matches in June were his first taste of the 20-over format at international level.

“I have been working really hard myself on the skills needed for this form of the game and I have managed to get a number of games under my belt with the Highlanders in the last couple of seasons to help develop them,” the former Derbyshire pro explained.

“I knew I could play in this format and I just had to work hard and wait for my opportunity.

“As a bowler T20 can be quite tough, but you have to play your cricket with a smile on your face and just try and focus in on each delivery that you bowl.

“At times you will bowl balls that you want to bowl, but they will go for boundaries and sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say ‘this is T20 cricket and that is a good shot’.

“That is especially the case nowadays given that batsmen are trying to hit the ball to all parts of the ground and are trying to score runs with every type of shot.”

Scotland squad: Preston Mommsen, Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer, Matt Cross, Josh Davey, Con de Lange, Ali Evans, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Gavin Main, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Rob Taylor, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt.

WORLD T20 QUALIFIERS 2015: GROUP B SCHEDULE

THURSDAY, JULY 9

Scotland v UAE

The Grange, Edinburgh (10am)

Netherlands v Afghanistan

The Grange, Edinburgh (2.15pm)

FRIDAY, JULY 10

Canada v Kenya

Myreside, Edinburgh (10am)

Afghanistan v UAE

The Grange, Edinburgh (2.15pm)

SATURDAY, JULY 11

Scotland v Netherlands

The Grange, Edinburgh (10am)

Kenya v Oman

Myreside, Edinburgh (10am)

SUNDAY, JULY 12

UAE v Netherlands

Grange, Edinburgh (10am)

Canada v Oman

New Williamfield, Stirling (10am)

Scotland v Afghanistan

Grange, Edinburgh (2.15pm)

MONDAY, JULY 13

Afghanistan v Kenya

New Williamfield, Stirling (2.15pm)

TUESDAY, JULY 14

Netherlands v Oman

Myreside, Edinburgh (10am)

Scotland v Kenya

Grange, Edinburgh (2.15pm)

WEDNESDAY, JULY 15

Afghanistan v Oman

Goldenacre, Edinburgh (10am)

UAE v Kenya

Goldenacre, Edinburgh (2.15pm)

THURSDAY, JULY 16

Scotland v Canada

Goldenacre, Edinburgh (10am)

FRIDAY, JULY 17

Netherlands v Canada

Goldenacre, Edinburgh (10am)

UAE v Oman

New Williamfield, Stirling (10am)

SATURDAY, JULY 18

Scotland v Oman

Goldenacre, Edinburgh (10am)

Afghanistan v Canada

New Williamfield, Stirling, (10am)

Netherlands v Kenya

Myreside, Edinburgh (2.15pm)

KNOCKOUTS

TUESDAY, JULY 21

Qualifying Play-Off 1 (A2 v B3)

Malahide, Dublin (10am).

Qualifying Play-Off 2 (B2 v A3)

Malahide, Dublin (2.15pm)

THURSDAY, JULY 23

Qualifying Play-Off 3 (A4 v loser Qualifying Play-Off 1)

Malahide, Dublin (10am).

Qualifying Play-Off 4 (B4 v loser Qualifying Play-Off 2)

Malahide, Dublin (2.15pm)

SATURDAY, JULY 25

Semi-final (B1 v Winner Qualifying Play-off 1)

Malahide, Dublin (10am)

Fifth/sixth position play-off (winner play-off 3 v winner play-off 4)

Clontarf, Dublin (10am)

Semi-final (A1 v Winner Qualifying Play-off 2)

Malahide, Dublin (2.15pm)

SUNDAY, JULY 26

Third place play-off

Malahide, Dublin (10am)

Final

Malahide, Dublin (2.15pm)