Scotland may have lost already to the auld enemy at the Cricket World Cup, but they are gearing up for the real “grudge match” against Afghanistan tonight (10pm GMT).
Preston Mommsen’s team go into their Pool A fixture in Dunedin after defeats by the Kiwis at the same venue and then England in Christchurch.
Arguably, though, the meeting with their rivals Afghanistan will be the one they want to win most of all. It presents both teams with another opportunity to put their first points on the board.
Afghanistan have lost two out of two, against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but coach Andy Moles (a former Scotland coach) is adamant they are capable of much better.
They and Scotland have had many battles in recent years, as the two associate nations try to move up the global pecking order. Opener Kyle Coetzer is happy to confirm that, and points to the Scots’ overwhelming success in most recent hostilities – at the tri-series in Abu Dhabi – where they were fine-tuning World Cup preparations.
“It is always a big grudge match for us,” the former captain told Cricket Scotland. “We got the better of them last time we played, when we knocked them over for 60 or so.”
To do so, Scotland will need to iron out frailties which were evident in Monday’s 119-run defeat by England. Coetzer top-scored with 71 but could not keep the chase of 303 for eight competitive.
“If we had just maybe been able to have got one or two more partnerships, we could have had a good go at that score,” he said.