Improved Scotland chase history again
June 17, 2017
Start time 10:45 local (09:45 GMT)
The far north of the UK is a place where chilly, damp weather is a common occurrence round the year. Regardless of what Zimbabwe may have read about Edinburgh beforehand, not much would have prepared them for the cold shower they experienced on Thursday in the form of a loss to Scotland in the maiden ODI between the two countries.
Losing a pair of home series to Afghanistan is one thing, with the consensus being that Afghanistan's on-field quality has outstripped their administrative status as an Associate - a view further cemented by Afghanistan drawing the ODI series on their first visit to the West Indies earlier this month. As much as Scotland have improved their on-field product in recent years under coach Grant Bradburn, the bare fact was that they'd never beaten a Full Member in 23 attempts prior to Thursday. But, by the end of the day, Zimbabwe found themselves on the wrong side of history.
Less than two days after that wake-up call, Zimbabwe have a chance to save face and level the series. Scotland are currently third in the WCL Championship, three points behind Netherlands, and if Zimbabwe are swept 2-0 in Edinburgh, the prospect of three one-dayers next week in Amsterdam becomes even more daunting.
Scotland, on the other hand, have a chance to create a double-dose of history. "Securing a maiden ODI win over a Full Member" has been checked off the to-do list. They have the pen in hand waiting to mark off the next item on their summer agenda: "securing a maiden ODI series win over a Full Member."
Scotland: WLLWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
South Africa-born Con de Lange first came to Scotland in 2003 as an overseas pro for Ferguslie CC in Paisley. After marrying a local girl and putting down roots in his adopted homeland, he made his Scotland debut in 2015 and has since become one of their most reliable talents. Named vice-captain in January, he turned in his maiden ODI five-for in the win on Thursday and will look to restrict Zimbabwe once again.
Malcolm Waller's last four scores, playing for Rhinos in Zimbabwe's domestic competition Pro50 Championship, prior to the Scotland tour were 52, 49, 57 and 113. His 92 off 62 balls in the first ODI was his fifth ODI half-century, and he came within inches of making it a match-winning maiden ton before being snuffed out by a controversial catch. Scotland had few answers for containing him in the first match, and he may be a handful once again in the middle order.
Somerset's Josh Davey has been released from the county for the second ODI, and he won't be making the trip up north just to sit on the bench. Though Chris Sole is the youngest and least experienced of Scotland's medium-pace unit, his opening five-over spell of 1 for 10 was exceptional. But Sole looked rattled by Waller, conceding 0 for 30 in three overs later in the innings. Safyaan Sharif was also expensive, finishing with 1 for 69, making them the most likely candidates to make way for Davey, with Alasdair Evans staying to take the new ball.
Scotland (probable): 1 Kyle Coetzer (capt), 2 Matthew Cross (wk), 3 Calum MacLeod, 4 Richie Berrington, 5 Preston Mommsen, 6 Craig Wallace, 7 Michael Leask, 8 Josh Davey, 9 Con de Lange, 10 Chris Sole/Safyaan Sharif, 11 Alasdair Evans
Chris Mpofu, who was Zimbabwe's leading wicket-taker in the five-match series against Afghanistan, was a surprising omission in the first ODI. Richard Ngarava struggled badly, both with the new ball and at the death, to finish with 1 for 96 - the joint second-worst figures for a Zimbabwe bowler in ODIs. A direct swap for the two is most likely on the bowling front, while Chamu Chibhabha might also get a look in after another ODI failure for Ryan Burl.
Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Hamilton Masakadza, 2 Solomon Mire, 3 Chamu Chibhabha, 4 Craig Ervine, 5 Sean Williams, 6 Sikandar Raza, 7 Malcolm Waller, 8 PJ Moor (wk), 9 Graeme Cremer (capt), 10 Tendai Chatara, 11 Chris Mpofu
Pitch and conditions
Unlike the on-and-off rain on Thursday that resulted in Zimbabwe's chase being reduced to 43 overs, Saturday is forecast to be one of the clearest and hottest days of the late spring and early summer in Edinburgh with a high of 24 degrees centigrade and no rain in the area. Expect another flat, bat-first pitch with a 300-plus target in mind.
Stats and trivia
- Con de Lange's 5 for 60 was just the sixth five-wicket haul in Scotland's ODI history and the first since Josh Davey's 6 for 28 against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi just before the 2015 World Cup.
- Scotland's 317 for 6 in the first ODI was the fifth time they scored 300 or more in an ODI innings, and their second-highest total against a Full Member, one short of the 318 for 8 they made in a World Cup loss to Bangladesh.
- Zimbabwe's overall record against Associates in ODIs is 49-20-1 after the loss to Scotland. But since that lone tie, against Ireland in the 2007 World Cup, it has been much less dominant at 25-17. That includes 11 losses to Afghanistan, three to Ireland and two to Kenya.
"This is what we've been waiting to do for a little while. We've taken a little bit longer than other teams have, but we've now got a strong squad of players and we hope that we could still keep on challenging and maybe play some of the other Test-ranked teams."
Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer on the impact of beating Zimbabwe
"They do play good shots and we knew we were going to be up against it, especially in their home conditions, our first game. But we've got to jump around. We've got to be ready for the next game and make sure that we finish on top."
Zimbabwe batsman Malcolm Waller
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna