A couple of days ago, Scotland had stunned England in a 50-over contest on the very same surface at the Grange Cricket Club in Edinburgh. On Tuesday (June 12), they were blown away by Pakistan by 48 runs in the first of two-Twenty20 Internationals in a stunning reversal of fortunes.
After opting to bat, Sarfraz Ahmed led with an unbeaten 49-ball 89, laced with ten fours and three sixes, while Shoaib Malik too scored a blazing 27-ball 53. As a result, Pakistan posted a daunting 204 for 4, their second-highest T20I total. Such was the ferocity of the assault that 80 runs came from the last five overs.
In response, Scotland started positively, but could manage only 156 for 6 in the end as the target proved too big.
Fakhar Zaman and Ahmed Shehzad gave Pakistan a brisk start of 33 in 3.4 overs. Alasdair Evans, the tall medium pacer, provided the breakthrough with Shehzad’s wicket before snaring Zaman (21 off 15) in his next over, making it 46 for 2.
Hussain Talat and Sarfraz then stabilised the innings with a 41-run stand for the third wicket. Talat fell to Richie Berrington for 18 but not before setting a platform for incoming batsmen.
Sarfraz and Malik took the side past 100 before switching gears. Sarfraz reached his fifty in 35 balls, while Malik motored to the milestone in just 23. The duo was particularly severe on Hamza Tahir, the debutant who conceded 57 from his four overs.
The two added 96 in just 49 balls for the fourth wicket before Malik attempted his sixth six of the innings, only to be caught at long-off of Evans, the only Scottish bowler to make some impact and who ended with figures of 3 for 23.
The skipper though carried on in the same vein and took his side past 200. During the Sarfraz, he also registered his highest score in the format, bettering his 76 not out against New Zealand in 2014 in Dubai.
Kyle Coetzer and George Munsey got Scotland’s chase off to a flier. The openers put up 53 for the first wicket in just 5.1 overs before Hasan Ali struck with Munsey’s wicket, putting the brakes on the scoring rate.
Shadab Khan dismissed Berrington with his first ball of the match. Coetzer (31 off 18) fell soon after to Mohammad Nawaz, making it 69 for 3 in nine overs.
Calum MacLeod, the centurion against England, too could manage just 12 off 15 deliveries and was trapped leg before by Shadab.
Scotland reached 100 in the 15th over but by then, the required run-rate was in excess of 19. Dylan Budge hit a couple of sixes but Mohammad Amir came back to dismiss the debutant for a 21-ball 24.
Michael Leask (unbeaten 38 off 24) and Matthew Cross (13 off 10) hit some lusty blows towards the end. In fact, the duo took 19 from the 18th over bowled by Amir, but by then the fate of the match had already been sealed.