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Scotland grateful for Chris Greaves' special delivery as Associates make their mark

Greaves goes from delivering parcels for Amazon to dispatching Bangladesh in only his second T20I

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
As soon as Saafyan Sharif closed out Scotland's biggest win in World Cups - 50-over and T20 - captain Kyle Coetzer was trying to get the team together. There were little groups hugging each other around the Al Amerat ground, before finally they all got together when Chris Greaves was to be presented with the Player of the Match.
Greaves turned the game Scotland's way twice: his 28-ball 45 got them out of the woods of 53 for 6, as he and Mark Watt added 51 for the seventh wicket. Then, when Scotland needed to break the Shakib Al Hasan-Mushfiqur Rahim partnership, he removed both batters to swing the game again. It was no surprise that the rest of the team cheered him on, even as he looked astonished with what he had just achieved.
Coetzer felt emotional when talking about Graves, revealing that he was an Amazon delivery driver not too long ago, before putting it all in for his cricket career. When Scotland started preparing for the T20 World Cup a couple of months ago, he was still an unknown quantity. Coetzer said that cricketers like Greaves and Watt illustrate how Associate cricketers have a daily struggle to balance their cricketing ambitions with their livelihood.
"I am really proud of Greaves," Coetzer said. "He really sacrificed a lot. He was delivering parcels for Amazon not too long ago, and now is getting Player of the Match against Bangladesh. I am not sure if he will appreciate me saying this. Seeing the performance from Mark Watt and Chris Greaves with the bat today, they are lesser-known people who had to make many sacrifices to get to where they are today.
"Greaves isn't a contracted player in Scotland. He was on the fringes. He put his hand up, worked extremely hard and put himself in the picture. Going back a month, he wouldn't even start in one of these games. Look at what he has done. It is just proof in the pudding that there are some quality players around Associate cricket. They just need the platform to show it."
Greaves, who only made his T20I debut this month, pushed himself to the forefront of Scotland's thoughts when he took a four-wicket haul against Netherlands in a warm-up match earlier in the week.
"It was an incredible day for him," Coetzer said. "It certainly wasn't a surprise for us. We knew he had the ability. He showed some exciting skills on this tour. It was so nice to see him take on the Bangladesh bowlers. He chanced his arms at times, but these were shots that we believed that he is capable of playing."
Greaves said that he still couldn't believe he was in the middle with the opportunity to rebuild Scotland's innings. "We were in a tough situation obviously. We had to rebuild the innings, and see where we go from there. It was unbelievable that I could be that person to be a part of that [rebuilding]. Incredible."
According to Coetzer, the six-run win over Bangladesh was just reward for his players' hard work during the pandemic when Scotland saw several tours cancelled.
"It is a great feeling," he said. "We believed we can achieve this win. It didn't quite go all our way, but it is a special feeling to beat Bangladesh. We have been planning for this tournament for a long time. We only played together as a group two months ago, after waiting a long time following the qualifiers.
"Guys were working hard behind the scenes, but it seemed sometimes we were working for nothing. Our tours kept getting cancelled. It was hard to manage, but this is reaping the rewards of keeping the faith that we will be a better team when this tournament comes around."
Asked about how they successfully kept batters like Shakib and Mushfiqur quiet, Coetzer said that the bowlers had aimed to restrict them from having a full swing at deliveries.
"The plan was to keep them out of their hitting zones," Coetzer said. "We knew that they are extremely dangerous and very experienced players, so part of the challenge was to keep the ball spinning away from them or keep it underneath the bat.
"We knew Bangladesh's depth. They gave us a lesson at the start with their skills. It took a real fighting effort today. I kept on telling our guys that we are never out of the game."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84