England win proves Scotland belong at top level, says Sharif

Safyaan Sharif believes Scotland's win over England proves it deserves to be playing at the highest level in ODI cricket.

Safyaan Sharif celebrates the decisive wicket of Mark Wood   -  Getty Images

Scotland's thrilling win over England is proof it has the quality to prosper at the elite level in ODI cricket, according to Safyaan Sharif.

Sharif took the decisive wicket of Mark Wood in the penultimate over on Sunday as Scotland edged a scintillating encounter by six runs in Edinburgh, dismissing England for 365 after making 371-5.

The ICC's decision to reduce next year's World Cup to only 10 teams has been met with a negative response in many quarters, with the likes of Scotland, Zimbabwe and Ireland missing out on the chance to once again test themselves against the best players on the planet.

That policy has been criticised as short-sighted and Sharif pointed to Scotland's defeat of England as further evidence that associate members should not be discounted from featuring on the grandest stage.

"We have been waiting for this victory for so long," he told Sky Sports. "England are a brilliant side and to get a victory and score 370 against a top-quality side means the world to Scotland. It means a lot to [the fans] and a lot to us.

"It was an unbelievable effort from the lads as they proved once again we are capable of playing to this standard.

"It was tough second half - it was a good wicket and a fast outfield - but we just needed to bash out our lengths, mix it up and get the wickets. We managed to pull things back and do the job."

"It is a hugely special day for us," added captain Kyle Coetzer. "Creating history is what our coach [Grant Bradburn] framed these games against England and Pakistan as and that's what we've done.

"I am extremely proud of [our comeback] but it is a trait that we are starting to get very, very good at. With the ball in our hand, we have been exceptional over the last couple of years and for this to be our first game of the year it has been an outstanding performance."

England, as the number-one ranked ODI side, was strong favourites but was ultimately undone by a combination of Calum MacLeod's superb unbeaten 140 off 94 balls and Scotland's ability to keep its cool at the death.

"Full credit to Scotland, they are a very dangerous side," Morgan said. "To bring your best game in a one-off game like this is very difficult to do but I thought they played close to their best cricket.

"We didn't. It wasn't good enough to win and we were punished for it. It's not the end of the world for us. It's good to play a high-scoring game under pressure and we can take a lot out of it.

"I think we were a little bit rusty but we'll be better for the run-out, better for the pressure we've been under."

England must quickly move on from its disappointment as it heads into a five-match series against Australia, while Scotland will be full of confidence when it plays two Twenty20s against the top-rated side, Pakistan, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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