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Scots on the brink of qualification for World Cup

Scotland produced another dominant display yesterday to defeat Papua New Guinea and move to within touching distance of World Cup quali­fication.

Preston Mommsen led from the front with 94
Preston Mommsen led from the front with 94

A 52-run win at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln, means the Scots need to beat Kenya tonight to be sure of achieving their goal.

However, Preston Mommsen's men are in such a strong position in the Super Six table that they could lose and still go through, though such thoughts will not be allowed to prey on the minds of a team who have now won five matches in a row.

Mommsen led the way, scoring 94 as Scotland compiled an imposing 288 for nine, and the stand-in captain, replacing the injured Kyle Coetzer, believes substantial totals are the key to the team's successful run.

He said: "I'm happy with the whole team but getting runs on the board is the crucial thing. That enables us to put pressure on the opposition with the ball. I was happy with our total and, although they came at us hard, we held our nerve in the field. That is a really good sign moving forward."

Calum MacLeod and Matthew Cross set the tone for the Scottish innings with a rapid opening stand of 62. Having reached 29 at a run-a-ball MacLeod was brilliantly caught behind while Cross went on to fall just one short of a deserved half-century. However, Mommsen came out and played a captain's knock, stroking 10 elegant boundaries only to be denied his second century of the tournament when he was athletically caught by his opposite number Chris Amini.

Freddie Coleman added 48 in a stand of 86 with Mommsen as Scotland made sure of a big total, though not the one in excess of 300 which had looked likely at the outset.

In reply, the aggressive Pacific Islanders came out with all guns blazing and Vani Morea hit five boundaries and two maximums in his 57. There was also a hard-hitting half-century for Muhuru Dai as PNG refused to throw in the towel.

The Scots stuck to their task and Majid Haq and Rob Taylor claimed three wickets each to take the Scots another step closer to next year's World Cup. They are joint top of the Super Six table with UAE who have a slightly superior run-rate. Scotland, though, are two points better off than Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea and enjoy the comfort of a better run-rate than the two countries who could match their points total.

However, Craig Wright, the interim-joint coach, will stress the need to stay positive against a Kenya side they have beaten in the last three 50-over encounters, but who got the better of the Scots in the T20 qualifiers two months ago.

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