New Zealand v Scotland, Group B
Trevor Chesterfield - 31 May 1999
EDINBURGH (Scotland) - As South Africa took the day off to reflect on their ineffectual top-order batting efforts in this World Cup, the Kiwis whom they beat in their most recent series 4-2 were parading their flag and doing the hakka in celebration in this ancient city last night.
There was a lot of biff, some slog and plenty of wallop at the tree-lined Grange Oval as New Zealand got their calculations right and to score the 122 runs needed in less than 20.2 overs over Scotland to squeeze them into the Super Six side and set up a meeting with Zimbabwe in seven days time at Headingley in Leeds.
As Bangladesh were earning what appeared to be a ``contrived'' is second major upset of the tournament by beating Pakistan in Northampton, there was a lot of backslapping in the media room after the match as the Kiwis proved their point as had Zimbabwe three days earlier.
It was the impressive victory and shut out the West Indies, who along with hosts England, Sri Lanka, the winners in 1996 and the three International Cricket Council countries Bangladesh, Kenya and Scotland, head for various points of the global compass after the formalities at Buckingham Palace. Yet it all fell into place for the lads from the shaky isles. Apart from the two points and a calculated run-rate there were also, admitted Stephen Fleming a few butterflies when he went out to toss for innings with Scotland captain George Salmond.
``Sure we were doing out calculations,'' Fleming said. ``But it made it easier for us to win the toss and have them bat first than our gamble on setting a target. That bit does not often work too well.''
Flanked by man of the match Geoff Allott, whose three wickets yesterday takes him past South Africa's Lance Klusener as the leading wicket-taker with 15, Fleming felt the key to winning as easily as they did was the quick dismissal of Scotland's prime all-rounder, Gavin Hamilton which helped the Kiwis cause on a pitch of subtle pace and carry in bounce.
Allott's pace, having rocked the top order had Scotland firmly anchored to the crease and they were under pressure to put runs on the board. Fleming felt a total between 125 and 150 would be gettable, but declined to elaborate.
On a chilly morning, Kiwis dressed themselves in flags and wearing a variety of painted faces, mostly supporting the All Blacks instead of that dreadful nickname black caps, swilling vast quantities of the brown stuff and generally making a lot of noise which scared off what any would be tartan army invasion of their territory.
The Scots tried their best and did a far better job than either Holland or the United Arab Emirates in 1996. Although they found the pace of Allott, and to an extent, the bowling of Dion Nash and Chris Harris, who was pulled in at the end of the innings to pick up four for seven with the sort of wobble and dibbley stuff which ripped out the bottom order.
Roger Twose added to his fame, this time for being dropped three time while putting together 54 not out off 50 balls although it was Chris Carins who wrapped it up with a six over mid-wicket off Hamilton's bowling.
What it all meant was the Kiwis ending with a net run rate of 0.58 to the Windies 0.50 behind Pakistan and Australia. Had they whipped off the runs in 10.2 overs they would have edged into second place.
Now the fun starts as teams such as Zimbabwe, so successful in the first round stage face a tougher competition. The Kiwis know it. Zimbabwe go into the Super Sixes known that a victory, whether with or without the Duckworth/Lewis system, with four points; the Kiwis, like South Africa have two. The irony being South Africa, whose odds as favourites have been lengthened to 6/2, need to win two of their matches to reach the semi-finals. The next 12 days is going to be full of intrigue and new calculations in batting projections where net run rates are going to be examined with more care and attention.
And with England slipping out of the tournament, their input will not be missed and there is further opportunity to bask in the glory of stylish Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly, the two Indians who are fast becoming the most colourful strokeplayers of the tournament. It would have been heartbreak for millions had India been forced out.
The Kiwis, meanwhile, were still celebrating into the small hours in all the available bars in Princess Street still wearing their war paint.