Playing against the minnows can often be like a double-edged. You are expected to crush the opposition, but in the endeavour to do the same, you often end up embarrassing yourself. West Indies found out how tough their tournament is going to be even against lower ranked sides when they went down to Ireland without putting much of a fight. New Zealand also almost slipped on the proverbial banana peel against Scotland. There was no clue of what was in store for Kiwis in the first half when they skittled Scotland for a paltry score, but their poor batting returns would worry them.
Clearly, complacency set into the New Zealand batting as they were chasing a small target. This is why a number of their batsmen got out after getting starts in spite of there being no pressure of a big score on them. They wanted to dominate the Scotland bowling, but almost ended up falling flat on their face. Openers Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum raced away in the early overs but departed going for glory. Surprisingly for many even the usually reliable Kane Williamson gave it away after getting his eye in.
Worse was to follow as Ross Taylor tasted his second failure in a row. His form will without doubt worry the Kiwis for he is one of the key components in the batting order. The lower order also refused to own up responsibility with Grant Elliott and Corey Anderson also being dismissed cheaply. The only reason New Zealand managed to scrape through to victory was because Scotland just did not have enough runs on the board. Daniel Vettori and Adam Milne did not have to do much to get New Zealand home. Scotland though would be pleased that they ran New Zealand so close and that too of their bowlers got three wickets each.
In comparison to the batting, New Zealand's bowling was a lot more impressive, as they stamped their class on the game. Trent Boult and Tim Southee got the team off to an excellent start as they plucked out two wickets each early. Scotland had no idea how to deal with their pace and movement. In no time, they found themselves down in the dumps. Things got worse for them as Corey Anderson ran through the middle-order and Daniel Vettori cleaned up the tail.
In spite of the defeat, were still some reasons to cheer for the Scottish side. Matt Machan and Richie Berrington both registered half-centuries to ensure that the team had something to cheer about. And, even though they faltered before and after that, their bowlers gave them a sense of pride. I Wardlaw and J Davey both claimed three wickets each. The fact that Scotland ran New Zealand so will definitely stand them in good stead in the upcoming matches.
--By A Cricket Analyst