IT'S the hope that gets you.

The long history of showing plenty of promise going into big competitions but then blowing it when the pressure comes on is so ancient and so well ingrained in the Scottish sporting psyche that it does not need retelling.

What it does do is make the aura of confidence around the current Scotland cricket side as they head into the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifying tournament something of a double-edged sword. True, they have reason to feel good about themselves: they won all their warm-up matches comfortably and their leading players made significant contributions but they also know it is only today the real test starts, when they take on the UAE at the Grange club in Edinburgh.

Nor is it just an empty boast to suggest they have the potential to win the whole tournament since they go into it as the highest-ranked Associate nation in the T20 format, 10th in the world. If they perform at their peak, they can go all the way, but there is also the stark lesson of two years ago when they were among the favourites and blew it, finishing outside the qualifying six.

They also know most of the batsmen are in decent nick and the fielding is more athletic than almost all their rivals so if there is a doubt, it is over the experience of the bowling attack, led by a trio of seam bowlers who have fewer than 20 T20 internationals between them.

Alasdair Evan and Safyaan Sharif have been around for a while but are only now starting to establish themselves in the side while Gavin Main, who had seemed set for his breakthrough until a back injury ended last season prematurely and cost him the chance to fight for a place in the World Cup squad in New Zealand earlier this year, has quickly established his credentials.

"I would never dream of saying I was an automatic selection," he maintained. "It depends how it is going. It is tough work. On some days you can bowl well, get the wickets and keep the runs down; on other days you can bowl just as well and things won't go your way. It is hard but also good fun, a good atmosphere. It is a short and sharp game so I enjoy it."

The problem for a bowler in T20 is they know that even the good balls can be hit out of the ground, and since Main is still only 20 that is the kind of thing that can damage confidence. "I have always found that hard," he admitted. "I've always been told that if you have bowled the ball you have wanted to bowl and it has gone for six, you should still feel you have done your job - it does not really work that way with me."

The task for all of them is to make sure that this time there are no slip ups; that they can be the ones to buck the history of teams failing to live up to their promise.

Possible Scotland team: Preston Mommsen (c), Matthew Cross, Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer, Josh Davey, Alasdair Evans, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Gavin Main, Safyaan Sharif, Mark Watt.