Did you know that Scotland had a cricket team? To be fair don’t think England did when they turned up to the Grange on Sunday morning. Cricket, in Scotland? Sounds as fanciful as a law abiding Aussie side. Considering how many games are called off in the English cricketing summer, it’s a miracle Scottish cricketers get any chance to hone their skills. Unluckily for England, the Scottish batsmen chose this one off ODI to unfurl their petals. For the first time against England the flower of Scottish cricket blooms.

But I Would Walk 500 Miles

Scotland were sensational. Unlike my fellow bloggers who pour scorn on England for sliding to defeat against a minnow side, I’m going to take the positive angle. For once. In amassing their highest ever ODI score of 371, the Scots put the England bowling attack to the sword. There were some enormous strokes. Skipper Kyle Coetzer led from the front with a swashbuckling display of 58 from 49 balls, sharing in a half century stand with fellow opener Matthew Cross.

Anything even remotely off line was pelted to the boundary with all the anger four hundred years of being part of Britain will do to a side. Flinging up their kilts and wiggling their backsides the opening partnership tonked the most runs England have conceded in a power play in several years. It’s not that the England bowling was atrocious; rather it was a Scottish blade that scythed with glistening venom.

Then came one of the greatest ODI innings ever. Calum MacLeod, playing in the Kent Leagues, came in and blitzed 140* off just 94 balls. Released by Durham in 2016 this could be a career resurging knock by MacLeod, who on the back of it has already been snapped up by Derbyshire for the Vitality Blast. Sweeping Rashid and Moeen with ease, MacLeod scored all round the wicket. Including an AB de Villiers esque clip over his shoulder. Light on his feet. Quick thinking. Strong wielding of a weapon. This was a man who had grown up on the rough streets of Glasgow and could face down adversity. He was brilliant. Simply brilliant. If Scotland were a flower in bloom, he was the thistle in the side of England.

And I Would Walk 500 More

Mind you. England were pretty shite in their bowling. Often they bowled slightly too wide and far too short. Liam Plunkett’s figures of 2-85 were particularly nauseating. Straight from the off England had very little control over the Scottish innings. It appeared there was no plan a, let alone plan b. Only Moeen went for less than 70 from his ten overs; the first time four England bowlers have conceded 70 plus each. Willey was flaccid, Rashid rushed, Wood snapped under the pressure.

Having said all that, there was no Woakes or Stokes, two players central to England’s ODI plans. If they played, there would have been more control; Chris Woakes is fourth in ODI economy rates of the past three years. We were witnessing the replacement attack. Willey certainly will make way for Woakes come tomorrow and the first match against the Aussies. Therefore there is no need to panic.

Yes England were beaten by an Associate side, but they simply had one of those amazing days where everything clicks. This is a fluke, an anomaly, a takeaway in Edinburgh that doesn’t deep fry Mars Bars. There’s only one of them. England are ranked first in ODI cricket for a reason. Since the disastrous 2015 World Cup they have been exceptional. Don’t you fret, they’ll go and sandpaper away those Aussie smug grins come Wednesday.

Just To Be The Man Who Walks A Thousand Miles

This confident attitude is perfectly summed up by the performance of Jonny Bairstow. Despite facing down a record run chase, was Jonny crestfallen at the mountainous challenge? Was he heck! Like climbing Ben Nevis, Bairstow gritted his teeth and began the ascent. In fact he basically ran up the first part. The sheer brute force of the fiery inferno is a joy to behold as he smote Sole and Sharif to all corners of the ground. Even spectators in row z were not safe as the ball was launched like a missile. You know how Shamu in Seaworld has a ‘splash zone?’ This was more like a ‘splat zone’ and it encompassed the entirety of the stands. Or grassy verges, as apparently stands are too expensive in Scotland.

Since being promoted to opener in the wake of England’s disappointing Champions Trophy last year, Bairstow has turned doubters into lovers. This was his third consecutive one-day century; the first Englishman to achieve that feat. His controlled aggression and big hitting have led many to call for him to be promoted up the test team order alongside Cook. They’d certainly be like chalk and cheese. But then again opposites do attract.

Just like how the middle order collapsed in polar opposite to Bairstow. After he holed out for 105, Root and Hales went at a steady lick, before the bean pole ran out Rooty. From there England collapsed, losing 5-56. Again, don’t forget this is a side without Stokes or more importantly in his current form, Jos Buttler. Moeen and Plunkett valiantly regrouped taking it to 26 off 30 required. Before the former was caught, Rashid run out and Wood LBW in the penultimate over. Scotland scrapped over the line by 6 runs.

To Fall Down At Your Door

See how close it was? England should draw heart from the fact they almost chased down a mammoth 371 to win. That’s how fearless they are. Since Bayliss and Farbrace have knocked this team into order the results over the past two years have been fantastic. They’ll still be favourites for the World Cup. And rightly so.

Scotland too have proved that the ICC’s decision to only permit a ten team World Cup is the most ludicrous decision… probably of all time. How can countries gain experience and better themselves if they aren’t facing the world’s best? Cricket in Scotland is growing and maturing like a ten year old malt. Don’t forget they only missed out on a World Cup spot because it rained in their qualifier against the Windies; meaning they lost on D/L. England fans shouldn’t be angry at this lose against Scotland. We should be proud to have witnessed an unbelievable display and been part of a historical event. It’s the first time Scotland have beaten England at cricket… ever.

And if you’re not impressed by that then go ‘Awa’ an bile yer heid!’ (which roughly translates as; ‘Go away and boil your head!’)

Da lat da da, da lat da da,
Da-da-da dun diddle, un-diddle, un-diddle, uh da da!