Scotland and Hong Kong looking to bounce back

Scotland and Hong Kong will look to kick-start their campaigns after losses in their opening games when they take on Zimbabwe and Afghanistan respectively.

Scotland openers George Munsey (L) and Kyle Coetzer during their match against Afghanistan.   -  K. R. Deepak

If it boils down to batting mostly in cricket’s shorter versions, laying a firm foundation for a strong assault cannot be overstressed. The ICC World Twenty20 championship’s qualifying matches on Tuesday brought home that truth in vivid detail.

Ransacking runs right from the start were Scotland’s openers George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer, their endeavour not merely a celebration of the swipe that batsmen indulge in. If it was mayhem in the middle from the duo, there was a method to it, a certain control in their aggression.

Looking back at the loss to Afghanistan ahead of its match against Zimbabwe on Thursday, Munsey, a promising practitioner of the above craft struck a comparison in approaches. “Afghanistan looks for boundaries from the beginning itself, off every ball. But we target the powerplays and seek to stabilise through singles and twos. We had a good start but struggled with the middle and couldn’t quite get over the line,” the stylish southpaw said.

Quizzed if things would have been different had he or Coetzer carried their bat, Munsey said, “Kyle and I could have gone on to 70s and 80s to win the game. But we had a lot of confidence in our batting that could go all the way down. The pitch got skiddier and more so later in the night.”

“There are plenty of positives from bat and ball. We need to put it all together in our next performance. We need to get the little things together and play a good game throughout the 20 overs of each innings,” Munsey added on what lay in store for the morrow.

“We need to execute our plans at the end,” emphasised Hong Kong skipper Tanwir Afzal ahead of the contest against Afghanistan. “There is room to work on our death bowling,” he admitted, vis-a-vis the 14-run defeat to Zimbabwe in the lung-opener.

The squads (from):

Zimbabwe: Hamilton Masakadza (capt), Sean Williams, Tendai Chatara, Wellington Masakadza, Tinashe Panyangara, Peter Moor, Elton Chigumbura, Sikandar Raza Butt, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Chamu Chibhabha, Tendai Chisoro, Tawanda Mupariwa, Malcolm Waller, Vusumuzi Sibanda, Donald Tiripano.

Scotland: Preston Mommsen (capt), Kyle Coetzer (vice-captain), Alasdair Evans, Calum MacLeod, Con de Lange, Gavin Main, George Munsey, Josh Davey, Mark Watt, Matt Machan, Matthew Cross, Michael Leask, Richie Berrington, Rob Taylor, Safyaan Sharif.

Hong Kong: Tanwir Afzal (capt), Mark Chapman (vice-capt), Haseeb Amjad, Nadeem Ahmed, James Atkinson, Tanwir Ahmed, Ryan Campbell, Waqas Barkat, Babar Hayat, Christopher Carter, Aizaz Khan, Nizakat Khan, Anshuman Rath, Waqas Khan, Kinchit Shah.

Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Mohammad Shahzad (vice-capt,wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Usman Ghani, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Sadiq, Shafiqullah, Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Hamid Hassan.