MacLeod passes 1000 runs and sends Bermuda packing
Scotland rattled up 128 runs off their last ten to set a target that was well out of reach
Scotland 204 for 4 (MacLeod 74, Munsey 51) beat Bermuda 8 for 158 by 46 runs
Calum MacLeod's career-best T20I knock of 74 off 37 balls took him past 1000 career runs in the format and also to the first 200+ score of the tournament laying the platform for a commanding 46-run win over Bermuda in the first match of the Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier at Dubai International Stadium on Thursday night. Though it's his best T20I score, it's not his best score at a T20 World Cup Qualifier as he previously scored 104 not out against Oman in Sharjah at the 2012 event. The result meant Bermuda became the first team eliminated from playoff contention while Scotland moved a step closer to securing a place in the knockout stages. MacLeod seized on a fantastic foundation laid by George Munsey, who notched his first fifty of the tournament in a relatively slow 40 balls. After five overs of pace to start the match, which resulted in the wicket of Kyle Coetzer caught at deep square leg, Dion Stovell finally brought himself on in the sixth and it provided the opening for Munsey to correct his scoring rate. Having made just 4 off his first 11 balls, he reverse swept Stovell twice in the sixth for a pair of boundaries.
After heaving Delray Rawlins over the leg side for a pair of sixes, Oli Hairs fell in the eighth driving Stovell to long-off for Okera Bascome's second catch. It brought MacLeod to the crease to commence the first of two half-century stands, first with Munsey before another with Richie Berrington.
Munsey continued to play the reverse, swatting Onias Bascome over third man for six. Another six over slog swept the traditional way over midwicket off Rodney Trott in the 15th brought up his half-century before he fell next ball, sweeping too fine to pick out Onias at short fine leg to make it 131 for 3.
Berrington worked to rotate the strike for MacLeod, who used the pace of Kamau Leverock to glide a series of open-faced fours through third man to bring up his fifty off 27 balls. He had been dropped on a sharp chance at deep square leg on 41, then again in the 19th over at long-on by Leverock on 64.
The extra lives allowed him to strike a boundary over midwicket off the penultimate ball of the innings, which took him past the 1000-run mark, before he fell on the final ball scooping Leverock to short fine leg. By that time, he had accounted for 63 of the 128 runs scored by Scotland across the final 10 overs, leaving Bermuda deflated after they had done well to contain Scotland to 76 for 2 at the halfway stage.
Two wickets fell in the first four overs of the chase to Safyaan Sharif, bringing Rawlins to the crease. The Sussex star quickly showed a global TV audience why he was snapped up by Southern Brave for £50,000 in the Hundred draft, smashing three sixes in his first 12 balls over midwicket and long-on. He reverse swept, swept and pulled a trio of fours in the ninth over to put Scotland on the back foot at 91 for 3 as Bermuda were way ahead of Scotland's first innings rate.
But just as he did against Papua New Guinea, Mark Watt helped turn the tide in the field with a three-run 10th over that claimed Allan Douglas bowled flicking across the line. Onias Bascome was bounced out by Alasdair Evans next over as pressure built with Rawlins off strike. When he finally got back on, he swatted a full toss from Watt to Sharif at deep midwicket to go for 46 off 21 balls, making it 104 for 6 in 12. A wicket maiden by Hamza Tahir in the 13th concluded a four-over stretch in which Bermuda scored just 13 runs and lost four wickets.
Leverock provided some thrills through the rest of the chase with three powerful straight drives for six and also scooped a few boundaries. He ended unbeaten on 43 off 24 and showed he had perhaps come in too low at No. 7. Bermuda have one more chance to play spoiler against Netherlands while Scotland's last group match also comes against Netherlands.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna