|ICC Intercontinental Cup 2011-2013|
Over cautious Scotland pay the price
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
SCOTLAND were forced to settle for a draw when their Intercontinental Cup clash with Namibia petered out in ant-climax yesterday.
The Scots went into the final day having dominated much of the match at the Wanderers CC in Windhoek and hopes were high that they could complete an efficient job with outright victory.
However, set an impossible target of 384 from 72 overs, the Namibian batsmen set their sights on frustrating the Scots and accomplished their task with some ease.
The home side were even aided by a brief interruption when the first rain to fall in Windhoek for 78 days forced the players from the field.
In the end Scotland rarely threatened to complete the job and were perhaps left to rue an over-cautious approach which had seen them bat on in the morning rather than throwing down the gauntlet with a declaration.
They were at least able to increase their scoring rate to add 36 in six overs with Calum MacLeod hitting 20 of them but the belt-and-braces option denied the bowlers valuable time in which to winkle out the home batsmen.
As in Namibia’s first innings, the Saltires were unable to exploit the new ball as Pikky Ya France and Christi Viljoen set the tone for an attritional day’s play with solid defence.
First-class debutant Saffy Sharif bowled more economically than on Saturday but finished the match wicket-less while Gordon Goudie also struggled for the elusive breakthrough.
It was eventually made, almost inevitably, by man-of-the-match Majid Haq whose tail was still up after his six-wicket haul at the weekend.
Haq induced a false shot from Viljoen in the first over after lunch and took a good return catch to remove the opener for 19.
The Clydesdale spinner had a further success soon after when he turned one passed Sarel Burger’s bat to clip the stumps.
At this point there was still time for the Scots to claim an increasingly unlikely victory especially when Richie Berrington’s first delivery clean- bowled home skipper Craig Williams.
However, Ya France went on to hit his highest first-class score, a painstakingly defiant 63no from 225 balls, while Gerrie Snyman offered belligerence with three sixes and fourteen boundaries in a hard-hitting 88.
Namibia’s top batsman became Berrington’s second victim but only after his side’s draw was virtually secured, the Africans closing on 218-4.
Scotland at least take the consolation of nine points from the fixture, moving them third of the eight-team table behind Afghanistan and leaders Ireland.
The sides meet again in two one-day fixtures tomorrow (Wed) and Thursday.