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ESPNcricinfo Awards 2017 Associate batting winner: knock, knock, Kyle's here

How Coetzer brought to end a streak Scotland were glad to break

Coetzer's 109 was his second hundred against a Test nation  •  Peter Della Penna

Coetzer's 109 was his second hundred against a Test nation  •  Peter Della Penna

When Scotland made it to their first World Cup in 1999, their debut match against Australia sparked a pair of historic streaks. Unfortunately, the Saltires were on the wrong side of them both.
The first one: a 16-year, 20-match stretch of futility in major ICC tournaments. Scotland finally rid themselves of this dubious distinction in an eight-wicket Duckworth-Lewis victory over Hong Kong at the 2016 World T20.
The second one: a 17-year, 23-match winless run in ODIs against Test nations. The skies opened up on this day too, but long after Kyle Coetzer played what he regards as his finest knock for Scotland, scoring 109 off 101 balls to get his country off the schneid to lead them past Zimbabwe by 26 runs on D-L.
On a pristine wicket, Coetzer made sure not to waste the opportunity in front of him, by opting to bat first after winning the toss. He vindicated that choice with a breezy, even-paced knock, taking 44 balls to bring up his half-century and then another 44 to get to three figures, striking 13 fours and two sixes along the way.
Coetzer anchored the Scotland innings until the 40th over before giving way to Craig Wallace and Michael Leask, who each scored half-centuries as the hosts ransacked the Zimbabwe bowling unit for 101 runs off the final ten overs. The middle-order pair ensured the foundation laid by Coetzer didn't go to waste before Scotland's bowlers successfully defended the total.

Key moment

Coetzer and his opening partner, Matthew Cross, were kept under wraps in the first 15 minutes of play by the disciplined lines from new-ball pair Tendai Chatara and Richard Ngarava, and tenacious fielding in the inner ring. Ngarava also beat Coetzer for pace on an attempted pull and zinged the Scotland captain in the side of the helmet. Rather than go deeper into a shell, Coetzer and Cross countered with their own aggression. It peaked in the seventh over when Coetzer cut Chatara for four off the second ball, then gave the bowler whiplash by driving him back over his head for a six and two fours down the ground, seizing momentum for Scotland that they never relinquished in the innings.

The numbers

2 Number of times Scotland have had a batsman score a century and a bowler take five wickets in the same match, both resulting in a win. Coetzer's century in this match was followed in the field by Con de Lange's 5 for 60. The other instance was against Ireland in 2014, when Majid Haq took 5 for 54 before Calum MacLeod's 116 not out clinched an eight-wicket victory.
11 Number of times an Associate has beaten a Test nation in their maiden ODI facing each other. Scotland's defeat of Zimbabwe took place six days after Afghanistan beat West Indies in their first ever encounter, in St Lucia. The others are Sri Lanka (v India, 1979 World Cup), Zimbabwe twice (v Australia, 1979 World Cup; v England, 1992 World Cup), Kenya (v West Indies, 1996 World Cup), Canada (v Bangladesh, 2003 World Cup), Ireland twice (v Pakistan, 2007 World Cup; v Bangladesh, 2007 World Cup), Netherlands (v Bangladesh, 2010), and Afghanistan (v Bangladesh, 2014 Asia Cup).

What they said

"We've taken a little bit longer than other teams have, but we hope we could still keep on challenging and maybe play some of the other Test-ranked teams. It's definitely made a statement today." - Kyle Coetzer

The closest contenders

Mohammad Nabi, 89 vs Ireland, third T20I, Greater Noida
The highest score ever made in a T20I from No. 6 or lower, and Nabi did it at No. 7. It's also the highest strike rate ever (296.66) for a T20I innings lasting at least 20 balls.
Paul Stirling, 99 vs Afghanistan, third ODI, Greater Noida
Perhaps more remarkable than the runs scored by Stirling is the fact that the bruiser from Belfast kept Rashid Khan wicketless for just the fourth time in his ODI career.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna