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Match Analysis

Mommsen frustrated as opportunities fail to knock

Preston Mommsen, Scotland's captain, says his team's lack of exposure is denying them the chance to bridge the gap between potential and results.

Twenty matches, no wins. There is no way to soft-pedal Scotland's record in ICC tournaments, but their displays both in the 50-over World Cup last year and the ongoing World T20 have suggested they are probably a better side than those numbers indicate. According to their captain Preston Mommsen, their lack of exposure between ICC tournaments - particularly in ODIs, and particularly against Full Member sides - is denying Scotland the chance to bridge the gap between potential and results.
"In general, it's tough to attribute our lack of getting over the line," Mommsen said. "I do go on about it, but there is a lack of international cricket for us. Since the 2015 World Cup I have played in one ODI match - in 12 months."
That contest, a 109-run defeat in January, came at the hands of Hong Kong in the World Cricket League Championship. Outside of the World Cup, Scotland have played two matches against Full Member nations since May 2013 - one against Australia at the end of that summer's Ashes, and another against England the following spring.
"So, you tell me how I'm going to improve my skills and develop as a cricketer," said Mommsen. "That definitely has something to do with it. Playing under pressure, being exposed to a higher level of skill, exposed to different conditions, you know it all adds up, every little percentage. You know unfortunately that's just the way it is and we try and handle it in the best way we can. However, it probably does take its toll."
In their two matches so far at the World T20, Scotland pushed both Afghanistan and Zimbabwe hard. Afterwards, Mommsen claimed his side were probably as good as either of them.
"I do [think we are as good as Zimbabwe and Afghanistan]. One hundred percent. I think it's quite remarkable that that's the first time I have played Zimbabwe in my cricketing career of six years.
"Quite clearly there is no substantial gap between the two teams. I am absolutely not surprised that Afghanistan have beaten them 4-0 in a T20 series.
"It's disappointing, obviously, that we haven't come here and delivered. I think we're a very talented side and we have let ourselves down. In all honesty I think we have played some good cricket and some bad cricket, and those periods in the game have let us down."
Having made it to the World T20 via a qualifying tournament in Ireland last year, the format of the event meant Scotland and all the other qualified teams outside the top eight in the ICC T20 rankings had to compete in another round among themselves before getting a shot at facing the bigger teams.
When asked if playing in a world event put them under more pressure than they had faced in Malahide in July, Mommsen was derisive about the tournament's official nomenclature.
"You said 'if this was a qualifying event'? This is a qualifying event, no two ways about it," he said. "Of course it's pressure. We're an Associate team.
"I'm not sure people realise the pressure associated with playing as an Associate. Every time you take the field, no matter what version of cricket - T20s, 50 overs, four-day cricket - you're playing for something, you're playing for a place, you're playing for money, you're playing for funding, you're playing for opportunity.
"We don't have just bilateral one-day series where we can go and experience different conditions, different elements and play different teams. That's not part of Associate cricket. Associate cricket is about winning at all costs, and unfortunately that's just the nature of the beast, and it is a beast."
Nevertheless, Mommsen insisted Scotland's cricketing future was bright, despite their World Cup and World T20 record.
"Yeah, that's the fact, we haven't won a game [in 20 tries]. It's hard for me to say that. I still think the future is bright. We soldier on and we have a lot of belief. There is a lot of skill and there's a lot of talent and I think it has been evident over the last two games.
"That partnership yesterday [between George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer], that was world-class stuff. With the ball at times we've shown that we have the skills. So you know I am not down at all. I think there's a lot of talent coming through.
"We qualified for the Under-19 World Cup recently, which is always a positive sign, and you know we have a good structure in Scotland at the moment, we have a good coaching staff, a new chief executive with a very, very good business background. There are things pointing in the right direction. However, regretfully, we weren't quite able to show that on the park in the last two games."

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo