Written by Staff Writer
17 Feb, 2015 | 9:37 am
New Zealand survived a minor scare to beat Scotland by 3 wickets for their second win of the World Cup 2015.
After the bowlers did their job, Kane Williamson top-scored with 38. The Scots will be playing their first World Cup fixture for eight years, having failed to win in their previous two campaigns, in 1999 and 2007.
New Zealand cemented their status as one of the favourites for this World Cup with a dominating 98-run win over Sri Lanka in the tournament’s opening match.
A collective groan went up at the University Oval when Brendon McCullum chose to bowl and the worst fears of the full-house crowd seemed to be coming true when Scotland slumped to 12 for 4 against the new ball.
A 97-run partnership between Matt Machan and Richie Berrington ensured they wouldn’t set any unwanted records, but the rest of their batting fell away and New Zealand wrapped up their innings in just 36.2 overs.
A target of 143 was never going to test New Zealand, but they made the chase unnecessarily interesting with their recklessness. Of the seven wickets they lost, only that of Grant Elliott wasn’t thrown away. Three batsmen were caught on the fence, two gave their wickets away minutes after being dropped, and even Kane Williamson – solid, reliable Kane Williamson – couldn’t resist an ugly heave across the line.
Scotland had beaten Ireland and run West Indies uncomfortably close during their warm-up games, and New Zealand were in no mood to take them lightly, as shown by their decision to retain the same eleven that had taken on Sri Lanka. Tim Southee and Trent Boult were switched on right from the start, and Boult struck with his first two legitimate deliveries, classic left-arm in swingers that showed up the front-and-across shuffles of Calum Macleod and Hamish Gardiner.
At the toss, McCullum had suggested the pitch would assist the seamers for the first half hour or so before easing out, and the extent of movement slowly decreased as Machan and Berrington settled in. After the initial plays and misses, Machan’s front foot began foraying down the pitch, and a well-timed square drive eased some of his nerves. Adam Milne replaced Southee in the 11th over and produced the first real bad ball of the morning, a wide half-tracker that Berrington slashed up and over backward point. In the next over, Machan put Boult away for two more fours through extra cover.
There were no more boundaries for the next eight overs but Machan and Berrington were looking increasingly assured as Scotland reached 60 for 4 at the end of the 20th. Southee came back into the attack for the 21st over and the fifty partnership came up with both batsmen hitting him for fours. His next over was still more expensive, Machan hooking him for six and Berrington rolling his wrists over a powerfully struck square cut.
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