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Scotland want to bow out with 'one last show', 'one last crack of the whip'

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Sharjah, Nov 7 (IANS) Scotland would be hoping for “one last show” and “one last crack of the whip” when they take on Pakistan in their last ‘Super 12’ Group 2 assignment at the ICC T20 World Cup here, knowing that the next opportunity to play together as a team could be months away.

With very few opportunities to play top-notch sides coming their way, Scotland captain, Kyle Coetzer — who saw his side touch the highs of topping the qualification round and enter the ‘Super 12’ full of confidence — would hope to make one last impact here before his players disperse.

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“We’ve got to make sure we go in there with as much confidence as we possibly can do. We’ve got one last show, one last crack of the whip while we’re out here. We’re not going to play together for a long period of time. We’re not going to play together until April probably. We have to make every opportunity of every game that we get,” said Coetzer ahead of the game against Pakistan later on Sunday.

Pakistan are in imperious form, having convincingly defeated their opponents, especially India, in Group 2 of the ‘Super 12s’ and it’s unlikely the Babar Azam-led side is going to let its guard down as the tournament enters the business end, even as Scotland have lost all their matches so far in the ‘big league’ here.

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“What better game and what better team to play against than Pakistan. They’re at the top of their game at the moment. That’s just an ultimate test and to challenge yourself against them. We’ll go in there with as much enjoyment and freedom as we possibly can and try and make the most of the opportunity. We have some skills we haven’t yet shown in the Super 12s. So it’s is the last chance we get to show them,” added Coetzer.

Pakistan will be eyeing their fifth straight win later on Saturday. Their run in the opening days of the tournament means they were the first team to confirm their place in the semifinal, and also the only ones able to relax at the business end of the Super 12 stage. Having enjoyed a break of four days, they can use the tie against Scotland to get back into tournament mode.

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Although Pakistan’s place in the top two is confirmed, a win here will ensure they finish first in Group 2, and take on the second-place finisher in Group 1 (Australia) in the semis.

For Scotland, it’s another chance to learn from the best. Since their win against Bangladesh in their first game of round one (qualification), they haven’t been able to challenge the higher-ranked sides as consistently as they would have liked in the Super 12.

After showing good fight against New Zealand, they were swept away by India. “Just the conversations following the game versus India have been positive,” said Coetzer. “The fact that we’re so disappointed losing the manner in which we did and the opportunities that were created to go and speak to some of the finest players in the world, was a real special moment. The guys have learned more in the last two or three games than they have in probably the last three, four years, I reckon.”

Facing the likes of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, Pakistan’s in-form openers, would be a similarly “exciting” experience, Coetzer said. “We have to go in there respecting them but also willing to go and try and take them on, too.”

Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Hafeez said, “We’re definitely looking forward to the game against Scotland. We wanted to execute our skills with lots of confidence because at the moment everyone is very confident and playing good cricket. We want to continue. We wanted to hit all the boxes for this game also.”

Probable Pakistan XI: Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi.

Probable Scotland XI: George Munsey, Kyle Coetzer (capt), Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington, Michael Leask, Matthew Cross (wk), Chris Greaves, Mark Watt, Safyaan Sharif, Alasdair Evans/Hamza Tahir, Brad Wheal.



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