September 28, 2021

Dubai could be new destination for Scots ScotsScotland’s Caribbean warm-up

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25981787By William Dick From Herald Scotland

SCOTLAND’s hopes of playing in a pre-World Cup competition in the Caribbean look likely to be dashed.

The Scots had been lined-up, along with fellow Associate qualifiers Ireland and Afghanistan, to compete in the ICC Challenge Tournament against some of the top first-class sides in the West Indies.

However, ICC officials are poised to shelve their plans due to the turmoil which has enveloped West Indies cricket since their national side withdrew from a Test series in India. It now looks likely that Scotland will travel to Dubai in early January for a series of warm-up matches involving Ireland, Afghanistan and UAE.

Bangladesh and Zimbabwe could also be involved as ICC officials attempt to give the weakest of the 14 World Cup participating nations the best possible preparation for the showpiece tournament which gets under way in Australia and New Zealand in February.

Roddy Smith, the Cricket Scotland chief executive, revealed: “We are awaiting final confirmation from the ICC but it is looking increasingly likely that we will be going to Dubai rather than the Caribbean.

“Although these will be warm-up matches I understand they will have full ODI status which will add an extra competitive edge.”

The Scots open their World Cup campaign against New Zealand in Dunedin on February 17 before going on to face England, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Australia.

Moeen Ali’s maiden one-day international hundred, the third-fastest in England’s history, was in vain in a 25-run defeat against Sri Lanka at the Premadasa Stadium.

Moeen (119) got England off to a brilliant start in pursuit of their highest successful run chase in this format, after Tillakaratne Dilshan (88) had underpinned the hosts’ 317 for six in the first match of seven. But after hitting 11 fours and five sixes, the opener was sixth out with the score on 203 in the 31st over of this day-night fixture – and despite a fine hand by Ravi Bopara (65) in a near run-a-ball half-century, the equation proved beyond him.

Bopara was last out, caught in the leg-side deep with 2.5 overs unused, and England therefore began their World Cup winter with an honourable near miss.

IMAGE: ALL IN VAIN: Moeen Ali celebrates his maiden ODI century for England

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