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Subdued celebrations as Munsey ton seals League 2 Title for Scotland

George Munsey scored a 61-ball century

It was a curiously anti-climactic scene as Scotland claimed the inaugural CWC League 2 title with a comprehensive win in Kathmandu on Wednesday, knocking over the Namibians for just 154 before George Munsey struck a 61-ball century to lead the Scots to a 10-wicket victory in just 22.1 overs. This extends their lead over their opponents to an unassailable eleven points and four clear of second-placed Oman, who have completed all their fixtures.

Scotland’s victory was something of an understated affair, in stark contrast with the Netherlands’ unbridled elation at winning the League’s predecessor competition, the World Cricket League Championship, in 2017. While the Netherlands 2017 victory had earned them promotion to the top tier of ODI cricket, the abolition of the CWC Super League has closed that door for Associates, meaning Scotland’s League 2 victory is a somewhat hollow one.

Indeed it was only at lunch that it seemed to dawn on anyone present that Scotland would claim the title with a win, as by then seemed overwhelmingly likely. It had been a dominant display with the ball from Scotland after winning the toss and putting Namibia in to bat, on top from the sixth over when Mark Watt struck with just his second ball to take Karl Birkenstock’s outside edge, the first of three wickets for the left arm spinner.

Five overs later Safyaan Sharif produced a picture-perfect inswinger to take Michael van Lingen’s middle stump, before turning to the yorker to pin Gerhard Erasmus LBW with his next delivery. Nicol Loftie Eaton likewise went for a first-baller in the next over, Watt ripping one past the bat from wide and into the top of off, as the Namibian top order was gutted in the space of six balls.

Lohandre Louwrens dug out a defiant half-century to drag the Eagles to three figures before becoming Sharif’s third victim, while Zane Green and Bernhard Scholtz offered a modicum of support down the order, but both fell to the offspin of Michael Leask, who claimed four wickets at the back end of the innings. Namibia were bowled out for 154 with ten overs unused.

Scotland set about the chase with marked intent after the break, George Munsey driving the scoring as the Scots raced to fifty inside eight overs. Kyle Coetzer seemed happy to take a back seat as Munsey set about the Namibian attack. Bernhard Scholtz came in for particular punishment, taken for 24 in his first two overs as Munsey racked up 34-ball half century. As Munsey continued to accelerate and any doubt about the result receded, attention turned to his race for a maiden ODI century. Despite Namibia’s diminutive total, Munsey would reach that milestone with the final shot of the match, reverse-sweeping Pikky Ya France for four on the first ball of the 23rd over to finish on 103*, sealing the win and the title for Scotland.

It was fairly clear the muted post-match celebrations were in primarily in honour of Munsey’s achievement rather than Scotland claiming League title, though Richie Berrington reflected that he was pleased with how the side had performed through the competition across different conditions. While Munsey was duly honoured with a player of the match award, there was notably no trophy presentation for Scotland after the game.

For Namibia, the defeat was arguably more significant than the win was for Scotland, putting their spot in the top three, and thus direct progression to the World Cup Qualifier, in jeopardy. Namibia have two days to regroup before taking on hosts Nepal on Saturday, while Scotland have little time to celebrate as they are set to take on the home side on Thursday.

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