Scotland captain relishing England derby

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 03/02/2014

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Bring on the English.

That's the message from Scotland cricket captain Preston Mommsen after his side beat the United Arab Emirates by 41 runs in the final of the World Cup qualifying tournament at Lincoln's Bert Sutcliffe Oval on Saturday.

Both teams had already secured their passage through to next year's one-day international World Cup, which will be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, but Scotland's victory means they will compete in Pool A.

The Scots will be joined in the group by New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, England, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Mommsen said his team were already keenly anticipating their derby against the English at Christchurch's Hagley Oval on February 23 next year, and expected there to be fireworks.

"That's going to be a good one - hopefully quite heated," Mommsen quipped.

"Looking at the fixtures, we'll be looking to cause an upset. It's happened before and there's no reason why it can't happen again."

Scotland co-coach and former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood finished his short-term two-month contract after the final, and believed the Scots would command respect.

"It's a massive rivalry and it's one of those ones Scotland will hope there's a bit of a banana skin there and England slip up. It's going to be a magnificent game to watch.

"I know what these guys can do. If they go out there and perform they'll certainly put teams under pressure."

The draw works out well for Scotland with their pool games against New Zealand and Afghanistan being played in Dunedin, where they will attract large support given the city's Scottish heritage.

Scotland have previously competed in the ODI World Cups in 1999 and 2007, but have never won a game from eight attempts.

They will fancy their chances of holding their own against Afghanistan and Bangladesh and Collingwood believed they had enough talent in their squad to pose problems.

"What it comes down to next year is the confidence levels come the World Cup are as high as they possibly can be.

"The crucial part is every individual goes in there full of confidence and goes out there and plays in a nice relaxed manner and hopefully pretty aggressively."

Mommsen starred in the final, notching a spectacular 139 not out from 149 balls as Scotland reached a challenging total of 285-5, batting first.

UAE were in trouble at 73-3 after 15 overs in reply and when the tournament's leading-run-scorer and captain Khurram Khan departed for 34, the momentum swung further in Scotland's favour.

Middle order batsman Swapnil Patil scored a fighting 99 not out to delay the inevitable, but Scotland always had control.

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Mommsen was named player of the final and also collected the award for man of the tournament after scoring 520 runs at an average of 86, which included two centuries.

UAE will head to just their second World Cup next year after last competing at the 1996 version. It is a huge achievement given their players juggle cricketing commitments with fulltime jobs.

Khan said they had taken a gamble prior to the tournament selecting a largely seam attack rather their traditional spinners and it had paid dividends on the New Zealand wickets.

Qualification for the World Cup was a massive fillip for the sport in the Emirates, he said, and would hopefully lead to an increase in funding and greater professionalism.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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