KYLE Coetzer, the Scotland captain, last night expressed his delight after his side completed an one-day international double over Kenya to keep their World Cup qualifying hopes alive.
The Scots ran out winners by four wickets in a rain-affected encounter, a result which takes them to second place in the World Cricket League Championship table. Coetzer's men have eased a point ahead of Netherlands and two behind leaders Ireland, who meet next week. The Scots are likely to need at least one win against the Irish later in the summer to secure one of two automatic places at the 2015 World Cup.
Coetzer said: "I'm very happy with the outcome; it was absolutely vital that we won these two games and we have achieved that goal. It is always difficult when rain comes into it because you are never sure what scenario you are going to face. We weren't sure if we were going to get back out there but the guys had to stay focused and they did that."
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The Scots, nine runs ahead on D/L when rain forced a lengthy delay, were set 33 runs from 40 deliveries when play resumed. "I think it was a comfortable enough chase and we had put ourselves in that position by being positive earlier. In my opinion, we controlled the game and deserved the win," said Coetzer.
Robin Brown, the Kenya coach, believed the rain break worked against his team. "Scotland bowled well in the first innings, but we fought back really well and I was convinced we were going to win the game," he said. "The rain made batting easier and I don't think we got the rub of the green over the piece."
Coetzer, meanwhile, believes the victories can prove to be a catalyst for more success for a side containing several recent recruits from the county scene. Matt Machan, of Sussex, scored a century in the first match; Iain Wardlaw (Yorkshire) and Rob Taylor (Leicestershire) took vital wickets in both matches as did Neil Carter, the former Warwickshire pace bowler, while David Murphy (Northamptonshire) was tidy behind the stumps after winning the contest to wear the keeper's gloves.
All five featured in defeats by Afghanistan earlier in the year, and Coetzer said: "I think the new guys needed these wins to lift their confidence. All the county guys have contributed, not just to beating Kenya but by continuing to lift the level of competition for places, which is a good thing for Cricket Scotland."
Coetzer and his county colleagues headed south last night to be replaced by Scotland-based players for two T20 matches against Kenya, starting today, and the Intercontinental Cup game which starts on Sunday. The highlight of Scotland's innings was Coetzer reaching his fifth ODI half-century when he pushed a delivery from Varaiya into an inviting gap at mid-wicket.
The Northants batsman then drove Shem Ngoche over the top of mid-off for his sixth boundary.
Coetzer was on 57 from 80 deliveries and looking set for a match-winning score when Nehemiah Odhiambo took out his off stump with a ball that kept low.
The same bowler produced an almost identical delivery to remove Calum MacLeod for 11 and suddenly the Scots were wobbling on 106-4 as rain returned to interrupt the match for what proved to be the final time MacLeod's wicket, taken in poor light and steady rain, saw the D/L target rise from 88 to 98 but the Scots were still nine ahead and further play looked unlikely.
The umpires, though, deemed conditions fit for play 15 minutes before the scheduled cut off time and the new calculation appeared to bring Kenya back into contention, especially with two new batsmen at the crease.
Scotland suffered a further scare when Preston Mommsen went cheaply but Rob Taylor's rapid 16 took them to the brink of glory and they got there with four wickets and eight balls to spare.