Toronto: The Scotland football team has a long history of shock defeats in World Cup ties. Unfortunately its cricketers caught the habit at exactly the wrong time. Scotland's convincing five wicket reverse in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy qualifying final on Tuesday against hosts Canada saw the North Americans secure the 14th and last invitation to the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. George Salmond's men could have avoided this match all together.
In their final Super League game against Namibia they were cruising to victory but suffered a dramatic batting collapse in the final 10 overs. Had they won that fixture they would have been in the final and guaranteed a second successive World Cup spot following their 1999 appearance. Instead it was the Africans and ICC Trophy winners Holland who will be joining Canada as the three associate (junior) nations in South Africa.
Scotland's batting again let them down. A total of 176 for nine in 50 overs was far too small for its bowlers, who performed well throughout, to defend. "We had a couple of bites at the cherry but we just weren't good enough on both occasions. My congratulations to Canada - they were better than us on the day," said disappointed captain Salmond. Scotland's defeat was all the more bitter as they had finished four points ahead of Canada in the preceding Super League stage and in an earlier group match had defeated their eventual conquerors by 12 runs.
But despite the input of former England Test cricketer Mike Hendrick (coach) and ex- Yorkshire batsman Jim Love (manager) Scotland's batsmen could not hold their nerve when it mattered most. "Our preparation for this tournament was good, but in the end we were not good enough," said Salmond. "We have a lot of work to do."
| Copyright AFP 2001 |