Scotland 320 (McMullen 136, Berrington 60, Bilal 5-55) beat Oman 244 for 9 (Khushi 69, Shoaib 36, Greaves 5-53) by 76 runs

Brandon McMullen‘s name sounds quite similar to Brendon McCullum’s. On Sunday morning, in what seemed like a Bazball effort in Bulawayo, McMullen also played quite like McCullum, switching gears from being 9 off 21 balls at one stage to finishing with 136 from 121. That took Scotland to 320 in 50 overs after they had managed just 47 in the first 13. In reply, Oman too took their time: they got 16 in the first five overs, but their run rate went past three again only at the end of 19 overs. They eventually fell short by 76 runs.

The win confirmed Scotland’s progress to the Super Sixes, and Oman too qualified despite the loss after Sri Lanka beat Ireland earlier in the day. However, they will not be carrying any points to the next stage, with points only against fellow qualifying teams from the same group considered.

Scotland’s new-ball bowlers Chris Sole, Adrian Neill and McMullen himself were spot on to start with as they bowled tight, Test-match-like lines and lengths to never let Oman off the hook. But Oman’s batters had never really attempted to attack until then either, so much so that the first signs of intent from them came only after the first drinks break.

But the fact that they had so much to do was all down to McMullen and his captain Richie Berrington. They added 138 off 122 deliveries for the third wicket, during which Oman’s hopes of restricting Scotland to a manageable total had all but evaporated despite the sedate start. When Berrington fell for 60 in the 39th over, the score was 220 already.

The partnership was dominated by McMullen, who brought up his maiden ODI hundred off 92 balls. He piled up runs all across – whether it meant swinging for the leg side or pumping boundaries down the ground. The innings even included a funky, Suryakumar Yadav-inspired scoop for four over short fine leg, attempting which had McMullen lose his balance and fall on his back.

Scotland lost their last seven wickets for 77 in a rush for rapid runs, four of which went to Bilal Khan, who eventually finished with 5 for 55. But in return, Oman’s batters never really backed up his efforts. The only time when Oman looked to be having a say with the bat was during the seventh-wicket stand of 105 between Naseem Khushi and Shoaib Khan. They provided some late entertainment in a union that lasted for 83 deliveries, with Khushi cracking a half-century. He smashed 69 off 53 balls, thus only delaying the inevitable.

As for Scotland, apart from making it to the Super Sixes, they had another positive in the form of a five-wicket haul from legspinner Chris Greaves, who took all of the last five Oman wickets to fall.


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