Published On: Sun, Jun 10th, 2018

Victory over England makes up for World Cup heartbreak – Safyaan Sharif

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Scotland’s final-wicket hero, Safyaan Sharif, said that his team’s actions spoke louder than any words could, as they marked their return to competitive action after the heartbreak of World Cup elimination with a historic, and nerve-shredding, victory over England at The Grange.

Sharif, who nailed England’s last man, Mark Wood, with a pinpoint yorker to seal a six-run win, insisted that the jubilation of the achievement – in front of an ecstatic home crowd, many of whom joined in a good-natured pitch invasion at the moment of victory – atoned for the misery of their decisive five-run defeat against West Indies in the World Cup qualifiers in Harare in March, when a contentious lbw decision effectively sealed their exclusion from next year’s ten-team World Cup.

“Definitely it does,” Sharif told Sky Sports. “I mean England’s a brilliant side, everyone knows that, and to get a victory, scoring 370 against a top quality side, means the world to Scotland, so well done once again.

“I’m not going to say anything,” Sharif added, when asked if the achievement sent a message to those at the ICC who decided to reduce the size of the World Cup. “They’ll have seen it all today so hopefully they’ll click onto that.”

“It was just an incredible effort from the lads, they’ve just proven once again that they are capable of playing at this standard, and they did really well throughout the innings. Up top, it was tough in the second half but we managed to pull things back and did the job, so really… I’m lost for words, I don’t know what to say.”

Kyle Coetzer, Scotland’s captain, echoed Sharif’s sentiments, particularly in light of their successful bounce-back from the disappointment in Harare.

“I was extremely proud first of all, but it is a trait we are starting to get very, very good at,” he said. “With ball in hand, we’ve been very good over the last few years, and especially coming off the back of Zimbabwe, this being our first game of the year, it’s been an outstanding performance.

“Look, 371 played 365, it’s an outstanding game, bowlers found it hard on a flat wicket with small boundaries, but it’s great to be this side of the fence.”

In spite of the tough conditions for bowling, Sharif said that he had backed his burgeoning ability at the death, particularly having obtained some reverse swing late in the innings.

“I just knew if I bowl the right line and hit my yorker, it’s going to tail [in], and luckily once again I managed to hit that yorker and got that wicket, which was an absolutely great feeling to get over the line,” he said.

“Definitely, I’ve been working hard on [reverse swing] towards the end of an innings and we managed to get that wicket there. It’s unbelievable.

Coetzer admitted that there had been moments during England’s run-chase, particularly when Jonny Bairstow was teeing off during an outstanding hundred, that he had been powerless to respond.

“Especially in the first Powerplay, when you’re only allowed two guys out, literally whenever we moved a fielder, he hit it somewhere else,” Coetzer said. “He’s obviously in fine form, he struck the ball cleanly from the start of his innings. Basically I was just hoping he mishit one, and thankfully that happened.

“We knew it was tough,” Sharif added. “The wicket was good, it was a fast outfield, we just needed to keep bashing our lengths, keep mixing it up and we’ll get the wickets, and luckily we did.

“It means a lot to the crowd and a lot to us. We’ve been waiting so long for this victory and we managed to do that today with the positive attitude that the lads brought into the game, so well done.”



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