14th match, Christchurch

England v Scotland

At Christchurch (Hagley Oval), February 23, 2015. England won by 119 runs. Toss: Scotland.
England played well enough for long enough to secure their first points of the tournament - but they were far from convincing. Success stemmed from a stand of 172 in 30 overs between Ali and Bell, England's best for the first wicket in World Cups. But there was a pronounced contrast: the fluent Ali hit five sixes in 107 deliveries and became the second England batsman to score a one-day international hundred in New Zealand after Chris Broad in 1987-88, while the laborious Bell managed only two fours in 85 balls. Scotland had shown early signs of nerves - Davey's first over included four wides - but England then lost Ali, the out-of-touch Ballance and Root in 11 deliveries. That flurry of wickets, coupled with a reluctance to promote Buttler, cost them the chance of accelerating towards 350; Haq's super-slow off-breaks were treated with excessive respect, and Davey recovered to claim four wickets. Even so, Scotland - whose assistant coach was the former England one-day captain Paul Collingwood - never threatened to make 304, and only Coetzer, with 71 from 84 balls, made any headway. Finn gradually built speed and rhythm, having removed Machan with his fourth ball, and conceded only 14 in his first eight overs. Someforlorn late hitting by Haq couldn't mask the fact that the cricket had been less competitive than the banter among spectators, in the first game between the sides since Scotland's independence referendum the previous September; Scottish taunts of "Your captain's Irish" were irrefutable. RICHARD HOBSON
Man of the Match: M. M. Ali.

© John Wisden & Co