Christchurch: Riding on opening batsman Moeen Ali's cracking 128, an under-fire England notched up their first win in the ongoing cricket World Cup by crushing minnows Scotland by 119 runs in a Group A clash here today.
Sent into bat, England piled on a commanding 303 for 8, courtesy Ali's 107-ball 128 and his 172-run partnership with Ian Bell (54), the best opening stand so far in the tournament, and then bundled out Scotland for 184 in 42.2 overs to taste their first victory after being thrashed by Australia and New Zealand in their earlier matches.
England batsman Moeen Ali acknowledges the applause after scoring his century against Scotland during their 2015 Cricket World Cup Group A match in Christchurch. Pic/AFP
Ali later chipped in with two wickets for 47 runs in his quota of 10 overs and, along with pacers Steven Finn (3/26), James Anderson (2/30) and Chris Woakes (2/25), rocked the Scotland run chase.
Chasing a stiff target of 304, Scotland made a disastrous start as they were reduced to 54 for 3 by the 12th over and lost wickets in quick succession twice in the middle overs to lose the plot and the match without any fight. In fact, Scotland were never a match of their southern neigbours whose slump in form in recent times has led to the talk of a possible upset.
In the end, it did not happen and Scotland, who gave a tough fight against tournament co-hosts New Zealand in their three-wicket loss opening match, slumped to their second consecutive defeat in the ongoing World Cup.
Opener Kyle Coetzer fought a lone battle for Scotland with a 84-ball 71 which included 11 boundaries but none of his batting colleagues rose to the occasion. Captain Preston Mommsen (26), Richie Berrington (23) and Majid Haq (15) were the only other batsmen, besides Coetzer, to reach double figure scores.
Scotland were sent into the backfoot immediately after the start of their run chase with James Anderson dismissing opener Calum MacLeod for four when the batsman unnecessarily went for an expansive shot to an outswinging delivery only to edge it to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
One-down Freddie Coleman and Matt Machan got out in quick succession in the 11th and 12th overs respectively as Scotland stared at a defeat at 54 for three. Coetzer and captain Mommsen gave a brief hope for Scotland with a 60-run stand for the fourth wicket in 13.3 overs but it did not last long. Mommsen, Coetzer and Berrington soon fell in a heap as Scotland were reduced to 128 for 6 in the 29th over from 114 for three in the 26th over. Scotland batted along with the writing on the wall very clear before being all out for 184 in the 43rd over.
Earlier, Ali smashed a rollicking 128 as England posted a challenging 303 for 8 in their best batting performance so far in the tournament. Ali struck 12 fours and five sixes in his 107-ball strokeful innings and shared 172 runs with Bell for the opening wicket to lay a strong foundation for England at the Hagley Oval. The 27-year-old Ali hit a six off Majid Haq in the 29th over to score his second career century in his 20th ODI before being dismissed in the 35th over off the same bowler, hitting straight to Freddie Coleman at deep midwicket.
After Ali's dismissal, England, who were thrashed by Australia and New Zealand in their earlier matches, lost Gary Ballance (10) and Joe Root (1) in quick succession. From 201 from one, England were suddenly reduced to 203 for four in the space of just 10 balls. That mini collapse put brakes in the slog overs as England could add 78 runs from the final 10 overs and 48 from the final five.
Captain Eoin Morgan scored a useful 42-ball 46 and shared 49 runs with James Taylor (17 of 26 balls) for the fifth wicket to push England for a final assault. However, England again lost wickets in a heap towards the end with Buttler, Morgan and Chris Woakes (1) being dismissed in the space of six balls in the 49th and 50th overs. Davey was on a hat-trick in the final over but Stuart Broad denied him the honour.
Davey was the most successful Scotland bowler with figures of 4 for 68 in the match which was held four years and one day after the city was rocked by a devastating earthquake which killed 185 people.
Scotland: 184 all out in 42.2 overs (Kyle Coetzer 71, Steven Finn 3/26).