Dubai: Safyaan Sharif, Alasdair Evans and Calum MacLeod were the stars in Scotland's convincing six-wicket win over Papua New Guinea in the first of two One-Day Internationals at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday (November 24).
The new-ball duo of Sharif and Evans were clinical right from the start after Kyle Coetzer, the Scotland captain, won the toss and chose to have a bowl. They struck five times inside the first six overs to leave PNG reeling at 10 for 5, with four batsmen out for ducks.
PNG made some sort of a recovery to post 147 in 44.3 overs, but MacLeod's unbeaten half-century saw Scotland get over the line in 38.1 overs.
Assad Vala, the PNG captain, put up a bold fight and found support from Kiplin Doriga in a 69-run sixth-wicket stand after the early collapse before the latter was dismissed by Michael Leask for a patient 34 in 64 balls, with three boundaries.
Vala fell shortly after, becoming Evans’s third and final victim, for 40. His was the top score of the innings, the runs coming off 78 balls with two hits to the fence.
Norman Vanua, Chad Soper and Alei Nao helped PNG inch towards the 150-run mark but they stopped just short.
Sharif returned figures 4 for 38 in eight overs, while Evans had 3 for 23. Mark Watt, the left-arm spinner, chipped in with two lower-order wickets.
Chasing the modest target, Coetzer started positively scoring 29 in 38 balls with four fours and a six, even though he lost opening partner Matthew Cross cheaply.
MacLeod, coming in at one drop, shepherded the chase with a measured 60 not out in 92 balls with four fours to ensure that Scotland had no trouble getting over the line, although Mahuru Dai created a little flutter with a couple of late strikes, the left-arm medium-pacer returning 2 for 35.
The next ODI will be played at the same venue on Saturday. The matches will serve as warm-ups for both teams ahead of their ICC Intercontinental Cup matches, starting November 29.
Scotland will face Ireland at the Dubai Sports Centre, while PNG will lock horns with Hong Kong in Sharjah.