DUNEDIN, New Zealand (AFP) – New Zealand limped to a three-wicket win over Scotland on Tuesday, maintaining World Cup momentum only after the minnows gave the co-hosts’ much-vaunted batting line-up a bloody nose.
New Zealand skittled Scotland out for 142 after putting them into bat, effectively ensuring there would be no repeat of Monday’s match when Ireland, another non-Test nation, downed the West Indies.
While the Black Caps overhauled their target in 24.5 overs, they could have been in trouble if set a stiffer chase after a strong effort with the ball saw Scotland take seven wickets.
A rash of New Zealand batsmen threw away their wickets chasing glory with wild shots, showing none of the controlled aggression that has made them one of the tournament favourites.
Captain Brendon McCullum said they could not afford to be so wasteful in Wellington on Friday, when they face an England side desperate to bounce back from a 111-run loss to Australia.
“It was a really good performance with the ball — with the bat, we showed glimpses but we have to improve,” he said.
“England will be a challenge — they’re hurting, they’ll be tough to beat and we’ll have to play incredibly well.”
The Black Caps fielded an unchanged line-up from their 98-run win over Sri Lanka, determined not to drop their standards against unfancied opposition.
They appeared set for a crushing win in perfect conditions at Dunedin’s University Oval, claiming early wickets to leave Scotland reeling at 12 for four.
Matt Machan (56) and Richie Berrington (50) were the standouts with a 97-run fifth-wicket partnership in a Scottish innings that featured five ducks — four of them golden.
Corey Anderson and Dan Vettori took three wickets apiece as Scotland folded after 36.2 overs, with Trent Boult and Tim Southee coming close to snatching hat-tricks.
New Zealand made hard work of chasing 143 on pitch were they scored 360 against Sri Lanka last month, with Iain Wardlaw and Josh Davey both taking three wickets for Scotland.
The win was not pretty but man-of-the-match Boult said New Zealand “got the job done”.