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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

World Cup Report Match 6: New Zealand v Scotland

The end result of this game was that New Zealand defeated Scotland, as was expected as far back as when the original draw was done for this World Cup.The fact that it got a little tighter towards the end than anyone really expected seems to have a few people questioning New Zealand's team strength as a result. That seems a little dramatic, though given many seem to be tied to the England team and supporters, who take on the Black Caps on Friday, it is perhaps more in hope than in truth.

The continuing phase of winning the toss and inserting their opponents continued here in Dunedin, though on this occasion it could be seen that New Zealand was looking for a quick kill, trying to gain an early finish to rest up for Friday's big clash. Early on it looked a big possibility, with Scotland falling to 4/12 in the fifth over, with both Trent Boult and Tim Southee finding themselves on hat-tricks. Scotland, whose squad contains nine players who participate in the County Championship, showed themselves of steelier stuff, and excellent half centuries to Matt Machan and Richie Berrington put on 97 for the fifth wicket, and the possibility of setting 180-200 had grown considerably. Their dismissals within two overs left only the tail, and they were eventually dismissed for 142 in 36.2 overs, which looked nowhere near enough.
The Kiwis batted for 9 overs before the lunch break, losing both openers in reaching 2/63. It was obvious to all viewing the match that New Zealand could have taken the easy option, and spent 35-40 overs safely compiling the total required for victory, but they chose to go at it boldly, and as a result of this and some handy seam bowling from Wardlaw and Davey in particular, they lost wickets at regular intervals in their chase. Against a more seasoned opponent there is little doubt the Kiwis would have been much more circumspect in attaining the required total, but as the batsman squandered their wickets, the more optimistic Scottish supporters sensed an upset. Though it was not to be, the loss of seven wickets in overhauling the total had made some question New Zealand's batting strength in chasing a small total, and raised the awareness of the wicket taking ability of the Scotland attack. The reality was that New Zealand won the game in less than 25 overs of batting, and all of the Scotland bowlers were taken for almost 6 runs an over.

New Zealand now look forward to their match against England on Friday, which on current form should be a less close-fought contest that this match was. Ironically, Scotland now wait until next Monday, when they also will face England, a match that they may feel they are a chance of winning if they can improve their top order batting.
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