After a lengthy and frustrating delay England and Scotland finally got their One-Day International under way in Aberdeen. Constant drizzle made play an impossibility during the morning and early part of the afternoon before play finally got underway around 4pm.
England and Scotland were both viewing this game as a crucial part of their build up to the 2015 World Cup where both sides will meet again in the Group stage. Prior to the World Cup England, under new coach Peter Moores, are looking to rebuild this summer after a huge fall from grace during the winter. Scotland are also hoping to show the world that they are a leading non-Test playing nation and one that can compete against the established sides. They went into this match with the hopes of the associate members on their shoulders and a realistic chance of an upset in their own minds.
England fielded a very strong and experienced side with new boy Harry Gurney making his International debut after England decided to leave out Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes from their original thirteen. The match was reduced to just 23 overs per side but the patient Scottish supporters will have been grateful to see any cricket after the early weather.
Scotland won the toss and elected to bowl first. On a slow, low seamers pitch openers Alistair Cook and Ian Bell will have been expecting a testing time against the Scottish opening bowlers. Despite struggling with a lack of pace from the pitch the England batsmen adjusted well as Cook and Bell added 83 for the opening wicket before Bell departed for a fluent 50 off 34 balls, dismissed by Robert Taylor.
Eoin Morgan joined Cook in a further bid to up the scoring rate. However, the rain once again intervened which brought the players off for a short period. Both sides were willing to return as soon as possible as the game was then reduced to 20 overs.
England emerged with even more intent with Morgan at the crease and they moved the score on to 113 before Cook fell for 44 off 47 balls to a fantastic catch in the deep by Calum MacLeod off the bowling of Taylor. Jos Buttler, himself promoted up the order, joined Morgan with five overs left. With a power play in hand England had the right two players at the crease to take advantage of the situation.
However, Buttler perished to another fine catch in the deep in the chase for runs and England then proceeded to lose more wickets in the final overs as they ended on 167-6 with Josh Davey, having captured three late wickets, finishing as the best Scottish bowler with figures of 3-28.
Scotland's reply got off to a disastrous start as James Anderson (2-22) bowled both openers to leave the home side on 18-2. Scotland did recover with good knocks from Matthew Machan (33) and Michael Leask who hit 42 runs from just 16 balls. Scotland then slumped from 95-4 to 133-9 as James Tredwell (4-40) and Ravi Bopara (2-27) did the damage to leave England in command. Harry Gurney, on debut, finished wicketless but economical with just 20 runs coming from his four overs as England won by 39 runs via the Duckworth/Lewis ruling.
In truth England gained very little from the match, with the exception of the victory, as they would have liked to have played a proper fifty overs game in better conditions. Ultimately the weather won but at least England have played a game under their new coach Peter Moores and their confidence will be improving because of this victory. Ultimately they won in what could have been very tricky conditions.
Scotland meanwhile will be happy that the game was not a washout and they were able to show off their skills against England on the International stage. Realistically they would have not expected to be victorious but they performed boldly and represented the associate nations well which should bode well for the future.
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