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News

Mommsen putting faith in Scotland top order

The dynamism of Scotland's top order could make them a dangerous side at the World Cup, captain Preston Mommsen has said ahead of the team's first match of the tournament

The dynamism of Scotland's top order could make them a dangerous side at the World Cup, captain Preston Mommsen has said ahead of the team's first match of the tournament. Scotland have had an encouraging approach to the World Cup, as they beat Ireland handily and fell short to the West Indies by only three runs, in two warm-up matches. They also beat a Sydney grade side, as part of their build-up. The top order was instrumental to all three heartening outcomes.
"Matthew Machan a very dynamic, short, punchy sort of player, David Warner-style player, has the ability to take the game away from the opposition," Mommsen said. "Calum Macleod has had a brilliant past 12 months as well, and Kyle Coetzer is also looking good with his 96 against West Indies. We'll be looking to them to score heavily and feature in the top 10, top 20 run-scorers in this group stage. Hopefully that sets us up to get through to the next round."
Scotland had missed out on qualification for the 2014 World T20, and had also lost the first match of the World Cup qualifiers to Hong Kong, last year. They then won seven consecutive matches, even earning the tournament title over UAE. Mommsen himself top-scored in that final, hitting 139 from 149 balls, and was second-highest run-scorer in the tournament, with a tally of 520.
"I think the belief in the side probably changed 12 months ago when we qualified for this tournament," Mommsen said. "We lost the first game and we knew our backs were against it. We had to win every game in that tournament to qualify, and pretty much for a lot of the guys, their careers were on the line. From that moment we really learnt how to deal with pressure and guys stood up when they needed to stand up."
"But looking back at the last two warm-up games against Ireland and West Indies - that's also done a huge amount for this team."
Scotland face a stiff first challenge in the main-event, as they prepare to face hosts New Zealand in an ODI venue that has not been kind to visitors. Mommsen said Scotland would take significant confidence from their performance against a New Zealand XI in a one-dayer in Lincoln last year, when they had lost by only one run. That New Zealand XI featured the likes of Brendon McCullum, Corey Anderson, Daniel Vettori, Mitchell McClenaghan and Luke Ronchi.
"We watched a video this morning of that game, and we took a huge amount from it," Mommsen said. "We took them very close, and really we should have won that game. A lot of the guys playing tomorrow played in that game, so we've got to call upon that. Hopefully we can take the game deep.
"New Zealand's is a dangerous lineup from 1 to 11, but at the same time they're still human beings. They still can nick the ball and get caught at slip. We have to put the balls in the right areas and make sure we're able to contain them. We can draw on the recent experience of coming up against West Indies - a very dangerous batting lineup with Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Andre Russell towards the deaths."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando