Scotland Returns To New Zealand As ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Preparations Intensify

Scotland has returned to Christchurch, the scene of its historic ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2014 victory, as it continues its preparation down under for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.  The side arrived in Christchurch on Saturday as part of a tour organised by the ICC’s High Performance Programme (HPP) after completing the Australian leg of the visit.  In Australia, Scotland played three 50-over matches against Tasmania and Queensland Second XI, winning the second game.

Christchurch is the city where Scotland defeated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the final of the qualifying event to seal the third qualification spot at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.  The side will play three one-day matches at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln, and one at Hagley Oval, starting with a clash against New Zealand XI on Wednesday, 15 October.  Scotland recorded four of the 10 highest team totals as well as four of the highest individual knocks of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2014, and captain Preston Mommsen said his team will continue to build on its success in New Zealand.

“A key to our success during that tournament was how quickly we were able to adapt to the conditions, especially from a batting point of view.  As batters, we were able to trust the wickets we played on and I think that showed in the positive nature of our batting displays.  It’s our intention to build on what we achieved earlier in the year,” Mommsen said.  The skipper, whose unbeaten knock of 139 in the final at Bert Sutcliffe Oval was the second-highest total of the tournament, said his side will use its time in New Zealand to fine-tune its bowling attack,  “This tour gives us a prime opportunity to come back and develop our specific strategies for different parts of the innings. We want to be a miserly attack that gives nothing away, and I have every confidence we can become that.”  The Scots will play two of its ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 fixtures in Dunedin, a city also known as ‘Little Edinburgh’, and Mommsen believed that the support his side received in the qualifying tournament will carry through the HPP tour and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

“During our previous trip, we were genuinely overwhelmed by the friendliness of the people of New Zealand.  We were welcomed with open arms wherever we went, and it definitely made a difference to the success of our tour.  It will be brilliant if we can do enough to gain their support during the ICC Cricket World Cup,” Mommsen said.  Scotland is joined in New Zealand by regional rival Ireland, which arrived in Auckland on Saturday ahead of its two one-day matches in Hamilton and last two matches in Christchurch.  Ireland arrived after playing four one-day matches in Queensland and Canberra, winning the latter two encounters.

Skipper William Porterfield was keen to keep the momentum going in New Zealand.  “Some of the young lads were in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2010 in New Zealand, so quite a few of the younger fellows have played in New Zealand, and they are going to draw on that experience,” he said.  Ireland will play two ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 matches in New Zealand, including its opening match against the West Indies in Nelson on 16 February.

The side recorded an historic treble in 2013, winning three global ICC events across three formats in a calendar year, and the 30-year-old skipper was confident that his side will receive vocal support throughout the preparation tour, as well as during cricket’s pinnacle one-day event.  “Wherever we go, we manage to draw a few Irish out of the woodwork.  There’s quite a few Irish dotted around New Zealand and Australia and hopefully they’ll come out in big numbers and support us down under,” he said.  Fellow qualifiers Afghanistan and UAE have recently completed their HPP tours in Australia and New Zealand, with Afghanistan playing eight one-day matches across the two countries, and the UAE playing six matches in Australia.

Remaining Scotland HPP tour matches:

15 October – Scotland v New Zealand XI, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln 
17 October – Scotland v Canterbury, Hagley Oval, Christchurch
20 October – Scotland v Wellington, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln
22 October – Scotland v Otago, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln

Remaining Ireland HPP tour matches:

16 October – Ireland v Northern Districts, Seddon Park, Hamilton (day/night)
18 October – Ireland v New Zealand XI, Seddon Park, Hamilton (day/night) 
21 October – Ireland v Canterbury, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln
23 October – Ireland v Otago, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln