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Scotland and its supporters were buzzing with the thought of toppling over two number one ranked teams in different formats of the game but Pakistan showed why they are the top-ranked nation in T20 cricket. A complete performance from the visitors as they scored a truckload of runs, bowled with control, and never really let Scotland in the game brought the hosts back to earth.
A second match in as many days, though, allows Scotland to have another crack of pulling off an upset. There is nothing to lose for Scotland in this encounter. It will be hailed as the best of the associate nations if it manages to pull off a victory but not much will be made of the fact if it implodes completely in the process.
If people thought that Scotland’s victory against England was something that was not going to be repeated for a long time then they were mistaken. The team certainly has some promise and is very well coached. They came out swinging against Pakistan and played a very good game.
There is no shame in being beaten by a superior side and Pakistan was clearly that.
The second T20 against Pakistan will be played back to back and test Scotland again in all aspects. They must try to build on the positives and change a few things around to try and beat Pakistan.
Scotland bowled first in the match they lost and we think that making Pakistan chase could be the way to go. Scotland’s batsmen will have the time to settle –in and get a score without the scoreboard pressure getting to them. It will also make the Pakistani batsmen think long and hard if they have to chase something significant.
Kyle Coetzer was in terrific form and stroking boundaries to set off Scotland’s chase but the loss of his and Callum MacLeod’s wicket effectively ended the dream. Leask batted with freedom and got some runs but a target of above 200 was always going to be very tough to chase.
The real mistake that Scotland made was not to go hard at the Pakistani batting. Sharif had an off day and Tahir had a tough initiation into international cricket but Evans showed what could be achieved. He bowled with pace and kept the batsmen honest with his length. His three wickets were crucial to keeping the Pakistani batsmen somewhat in check.
This Scotland bowling lineup has some pace around it and they should not be afraid to target the Pakistani batsmen. Fitness and fielding is another place where Scotland can really push Pakistan.
Beating Pakistan is not going to be easy. They are an excellent bowling attack and some in-form batsmen. Scotland’s best chance is to change things up and force Pakistan to move out of its comfort zone.
George Munsey, Kyle Coetzer, Richie Berrington, Calum MacLeod, Dylan Budge, Michael Leask, Matthew Cross, Safyaan Sharif, MRJ Watt, Alasdair Evans, Chris Sole.
Ranked as the number one side in T20 cricket, Pakistan played like it. They were very good with the bat and never really tested with the ball. While we continue to wonder at the continuing career of Ahmed Shahzad, Fakhar Zaman, Hussain Talat, Sarfaraz Ahmed, and Shoaib Maik make for a pretty impressive batting order.
Asif Ali and Faheem Ashraf also have plenty of capability with the bat making this one of the longer batting orders that Pakistan has seen in recent times. Unassuming bowling and short boundaries were always going to light up the Pakistani batsmen’s day. In fact, players like Fakhar Zaman who missed out will be itching to have another go at the Scottish bowlers.
The move to elevate Sarfaraz Ahmed to number 4 in the batting position is an excellent one while Shoaib Malik continues to prove himself as one of the best T20 players in the world. The power-hitting that Shoaib Malik and Sarfaraz Ahmed displayed after the 15th over was truly awesome and took the game beyond the reach of Scotland.
We would like to see this Pakistani batting bat with the same freedom while chasing but that is a challenge that may come later down the road. Pakistan must be careful not to get too cocky against Scotland, though.
A long and well-chronicled history of batting collapses has followed Pakistan and they don’t want to open the door for Scotland to sneak through. The Pakistani bowling had the cushion of a massive score to defend but it was heartening to see no let up in any of the bowlers. Mohammad Amir was expensive and that should be a little concerning but Shadab Khan was clearly the best of the lot. He bowled with control and used the googly effectively.
His four overs are going to be very difficult for the Scottish batsmen to negotiate. Hasan Ali looked a little off in the first game. He is someone who likes a contest and is maybe lacking the motivation to really give it his all.
Pakistan holds all the aces and should be confident of recording another victory.
F Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Hussain Talat, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, UK Khan.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first
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The pitch at the Grange is flat and favored the batsmen completely. Pakistan was able to make good use of the surface and will fancy another round of batting. The weather has been kind but the forecast for the second T20 is a little worse than before. Still, there are indications that a full match will be played out.
170-175 remains a par score at this ground. The bowlers will have to do something really special to be able to extract something from this surface.
Scotland is available at odds of 5-1 but seeing the Pakistani display of dominance in the first match, even that is not enough for us to bet on them. Since Pakistan is so heavily favored, it makes sense to make in-play bets as and when Pakistan starts to get into a difficult position. That will allow punters to get some better return for their money.
Back Pakistan to win.
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