Every game a must-win in associates cricket – Mark Watt

Scotland entered the 2021 T20 World Cup with just a solitary win in the history of the tournament. However, the Kyle Coetzer-led side put on a clinical performance through the course of the first round of the World Cup to not just qualify for the Super 12s for the first time, but also top their group by winning all the three matches, which included an upset against Bangladesh.

After Scotland defeated Oman to progress to Super 12s, Mark Watt, the left-arm spinner, said that the players are used to playing in ‘must-win’ games and they had the belief that they could make it to the Super 12s. “In associate cricket we’re used to big games. Everything is always a must-win game in associate cricket. It’s tough. So the guys are used to playing in big games, must-win games. But now we’re just over the moon to top the chart,” he said in the presser. “I think it’s incredible but not unbelievable. We totally believed we could do it, and the guys are absolutely buzzing.”

Scotland were neat and tidy with their bowling plans. Both the seamers and spinners kept it tight by attacking the stumps and gave no room for Oman’s batters to free their arms. Such was Scotland’s grip on proceedings that only two batters crossed the 30-run mark and none of them scored at a strike rate of over 120. “I wouldn’t say they buckled under the pressure. I think we bowled well to our plans. A lot of planning goes into this. A lot of work by our analyst George McNeill goes into it. He puts a lot of hours in. I think we just bowled well to our plans, used the big boundary well, and yeah, I think we were just about saving the day.”

With momentum on their side, Watt also sounded confident of the side causing a few upsets in the Super 12s where they will be up against formidable opponents like India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan in Group 2. “I think we are going to make a few upsets. I don’t see why not. We’ve done it before.

“We’ve beaten the best ODI team in the world, we’ve beaten Bangladesh just there. I think we’re on a really good run of form. I think teams won’t take us lightly. They should be worried about Scotland. We’re in a great run of form and we’ve got a lot of momentum going forward.”

Watt has been one of the vital cogs of Scotland’s bowling plans in this tournament so far. The left-arm spinner, who has more than six years of experience in the international circuit, has taken three wickets and at an economy rate of just 5.41. He has also displayed the bowling smarts by bowling from wide of the crease to cramp the batters for room. On occasions, he has also bowled from behind the crease as a change-up and used the cross-seam. “I was happy. I think if you’d said I’d go for 20-odd after four overs, I’d take it in such a big game. Defending that short side with the Omani big hitters is tough, and I’m happy with that performance. I thought all the bowlers bowled excellently again.”

Watt’s ability to outthink the batter with his subtle changes of pace and angles could be put down to him bowling at his homeground – Grange Club. The ground is on the smaller side and the outfield is also fast, and the finger spinners have to find new ways to restrict the opposition. “I think bowling spin at The Grange in Scotland is quite tough. It’s quite a small ground, fast outfields in it, so it’s a good wicket there. I think if you can bowl there, if you can bowl spin there, you can bowl pretty much anywhere. It’s a really good ground, a great venue and a great wicket. If you can bowl spin there — you need to think about different variations to keep the batter guessing when it’s only finger spin.”

Source: https://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/119503/every-game-a-must-win-in-associates-cricket-mark-watt

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