Feb 5 (Reuters) - Registering their first victory in a World Cup match is the “realistic target” Scotland’s young and hungry team have set themselves in their third appearance in the biggest 50-over tournament.
In their two previous appearances in 1999 and 2007 Scotland failed to win a match and have been drawn in Pool A alongside joint hosts Australia and New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan this time.
In their last World Cup campaign in 2007, Scotland were thrashed in a 203-run defeat to Australia and also suffered seven and eight-wicket losses at the hands of South Africa and the Netherlands respectively.
They also suffered heavy defeats in 1999 but despite their dismal record, optimism is high within their camp that Scotland are on the verge of a successful World Cup.
Their success will, however, not be defined by fixtures against cricketing giants such as Australia, Sri Lanka and England but rather against the relatively weaker opponents in Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Scotland will particularly fancy their chances against 50-over World Cup debutants Afghanistan, who they beat by 150 runs last month in Abu Dhabi.
“There is so much natural ability in this squad and we go to the World Cup aiming to do what no other squad has done before, and win games of cricket,” head coach Grant Bradburn said in a statement while announcing his 15-man squad last month.
Former New Zealand spinner Bradburn will also have the experienced Paul Collingwood, England’s most capped ODI player and second highest run scorer, as part of his coaching staff.
While Scotland’s squad is mostly made up of young players, they also have the mix of experienced cricketers such as Kyle Coetzer, Iain Wardlaw and Majid Haq.
The trio are three of the most consistent and effective cricketers outside the 10 test-playing nations and are likely to spearhead Scotland’s charge.
”We have set our targets for the World Cup and these include taking down a top-10 nation,“ Bradburn told the Herald Scotland last month. ”Our goals are lofty but realistic.
“We want to win cricket matches whenever we go on the field. I think we should be looking higher than Associate cricket and I honestly believe this young team can start flying.” (Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)