Scotland today reached the finals of cricket’s World Cup next year in Australia and New Zealand – and could now be on a collision course with England.
After beating Kenya in a nail-biting finish to the last group qualifier when a target of 260 was chased down with three balls to spare and three wickets standing in Christchurch, the Scots go into a concluding match on Saturday against fellow qualifiers United Arab Emirates.
The outcome of that tie will determine which group the Scots will ultimately play in.
Once again the Scots were indebted to acting skipper Preston Mommsen, of Edinburgh’s Carlton club.
Mommsen took man-of-the-match honours with an innings of 78 when, along with No.8 batsman Rob Taylor, he helped stage a recovery from 169-6 before the latter smacked the winning runs amidst a late flurry of boundaries.
Mommsen said his side will be looking forward to the New Zealand and Australia event in 2015. “It is absolutely awesome, We have worked really hard to get to this position and to actually get over the line is unbelievable. The feeling is immense.
“I think we are very happy in New Zealand. We get quite a bit of support, which is nice, and I think the guys have suited well to the conditions and the wickets.”
Scotland have played in two previous ICC Cricket World Cup events (1999 and 2007), and the captain was thrilled that the team will be returning after failing to qualify for the 2011 edition. “We’ve had a bit of an absence, so to get back in there is unbelievable. The dressing-room is very, very happy to say the least.”
Reflecting on the final few overs of the latest tense encounter, Mommsen said the batsmen had performed admirably under pressure. “The guys at the end were unbelievable, they held their nerve, there was still a lot of work to do, and it was a massive team effort. Some good partnerships won us the game.
“The final is a massive game for us. We want to leave this tournament as the number one team, so we will be going full on for that.”
Craig Wright, who coached the side alongside ex-England star Phil Collingwood, said: “(It’s) hard to describe feelings right now. Massive credit to a bunch of lads who have stood up to be counted under pressure.”
Taylor finished on 46 not out while Mommsen was third highest run-maker in the tournament before departing to be replaced at the end by Safyaan Sharif who made 11 vital runs.
Scotland had earlier lost the toss and saw Kenya advance to 55 without loss before Calum MacLeod made a breakthrough with a run-out, but the Africans continued to score consistently.
Kenya took the key wickets of MacLeod and Matt Machan early in the Scotland reply, and with the score at 51-2 in the tenth over, Scottish nerves were jangling.
Matt Cross was joined by Mommsen for a third-wicket stand of 51 runs before Freddie Coleman fell to a run out for three.
Another vital partnership between Berrington and Mommsen produced 48 runs but the game had swung back to the Kenyans.
However, Mommsen kept his cool even though the run rate had reached eight an over with six overs remaining to help steer Scotland home.