Scotland, the best-placed team in the 2019 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup qualifier in the United Arab Emirates, was shocked in the opening match of the Singapore tournament.
Singapore, who is ranked No. 21 on the MRF Tires ICC T20I team standings, defeated Zimbabwe and Nepal ahead of the tournament and added to its collection with a gripping final ball win at the ICC’s Academy Ground A in Dubai on Friday, October 18.
On the hunt for 169, Scotland needed eight runs in the final round with four wickets in hand. However, captain Amjad Mahmood remained calm and took the gates of dangerous Calum MacLeod and Safyaan Sharif, while Alasdair Evans ran out on the final ball. The win in two races inspired the opponents and reminded them of the threat of Singapore in the competition.
“The victory opens this group,” said Preston Mommsen, former captain, and commentator of the tournament in Scotland, to ICC. “Everyone thought Scotland was a real eye-catcher – they probably had the lighter of the two groups, which will give many other teams a lot of confidence when playing against Scotland in future matches.”
Selladore Vijayakumar, who took 3/16, was a player of the game. But Singapore also had Surendran Chandramohan to thank for saving the team after a 2-7 win. Opener Chandramohan scored twice with his 55th ball.
He had good support from Aritra Dutta, who busted three sixes in a neat 15-ball-32 to get the innings going. Useful mid-order punches brought them up to 168/6.
In response, George Munsey took the opposite route to defeat Vinoth Baskaran for six and two fours in the same game. He teamed with Kyle Coetzer in a strong opening score of 70 in just 7.4 overs.
Singapore was scared when Janak Prakash was hit during his follow-through. Fortunately, the bowler was treated for a cut and released after a short break for the field.
Vijayakumar’s off-spin and Tim David’s spectacular catch brought Singapore back into the game. With Coetzer as the third wicket, Scotland went from 111/2 to 125/5. MacLeod kept his team in the game and Tim Sole scored a few fours, but Amjad’s final overtook the famous win for the Asian side.
“Scotland would have approached this tournament with the attitude that ‘anything can happen’,” Mommsen added. “In qualifying tournaments, these things happen, it’s about adapting and mastering those challenges when they arrive.”