Scots blast their way into elite company at T20 World Cup

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Scotland's Richie Berrington helps his side into the Super 12s at the T20 World Cup, as the Saltires secure their third straight win, this time against hosts Oman
Scotland's Richie Berrington helps his side into the Super 12s at the T20 World Cup, as the Saltires secure their third straight win, this time against hosts Oman

For Scottish cricket, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 was always going to be about more than the 15-man playing squad.

This was an opportunity for a breakthrough tournament of the likes of Afghanistan five years ago or Ireland at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup back in 2007.

The introduction of the Super 12 stage meant that there was almost an expectation of getting through the first round, a feeling that only grew after that stunning opening win against Bangladesh.

Now, thanks to an emphatic eight-wicket victory over Oman, Scotland have not only qualified, but they have also topped Group B and enter the Super 12 in the B1 slot full of confidence with matches against India, New Zealand and Pakistan, not to mention old rivals Afghanistan on the horizon.

In the here and now, Mark Watt talked about causing more upsets and with the balance and depth of the side, that is a very real possibility.

Whether they do or not, the wider ramifications of this qualification could be felt in the coming years and decades though as Scottish cricket gets an opportunity to shine a light on the game on the biggest stage of all.

Watt explained: “A lot of people will be looking at us on the TV and thinking they want to play for Scotland now. That is our main aim, to inspire a nation.

“We want kids to grow up and try different sports and try cricket. It’s not a massive sport, we want to try to push that up there and we think this is going to help massively.”

Skipper Kyle Coetzer has been a key part of the Scotland set-up for nearly two decades now, but had been short of runs coming into the tournament and in the opening two matches.

That changed against Oman, with the opener smashing 41 to calm any fears over whether 122 might prove a trickier target than on first appearances.

At 37, Coetzer has spent so long waiting for an opportunity like this, and he fully intends to take it.

He said: “For Cricket Scotland and back home, it’s huge, the opportunity to play on the biggest stage, the opportunity to test ourselves against the best and grow the game back home, the following has been immense.

“There’s a real togetherness among our squad, we’ve been through thick and thin, a number of these players were at the last T20 World Cup and just missed out on group stage. The guys have put in a lot of work over the past couple of years to keep developing their game. The coaching staff have done a fantastic job. The guys are in a great place, playing some excellent cricket and are a pretty well-established outfit with bat, ball and in the field.

“As far as I'm aware this group we were just in was a mighty tough group so the next one will be tougher. There is no reason to fear any games in that group. We will go into every game full of hope and belief that we can win more games.”

Coetzer is right to be optimistic considering what Scotland have achieved so far. Perhaps more exciting though, is what they might achieve in the future.

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