Scotland opened their account in the UAE tri-series with a 31-run victory over the hosts in Dubai. Both teams began the game with no wins to their name in the series, with Ireland having won all four of their matches. UAE bowled in their bid for first points, and though they kept striking at regular intervals – they reduced Scotland to 133 for 6 by the 31st over – they could not get past the No. 3 Matthew Cross.
Cross notched up 107 off 110 – his maiden ODI century – and found support in No. 6 George Munsey and No. 8 Safyaan Sharif. While Munsey counterattacked with 45 off 44, Sharif proved stubborn in his stand with Cross, making 22 off 40 to help lift the team towards a respectable total. Cross kept going till the end, finishing with ten fours and two sixes while ensuring his side were not bowled out shy of their 50 overs. They finished on 249 for 8.
UAE’s reply was hit early when they lost Ashfaq Ahmed in the first over, but captain Rohan Mustafa and Ghulam Shabber steadied the chase. Shabber seemed to be playing a role similar to his opposite No. 3, but then he was run out – for 90, also his highest ODI score – and the hosts slipped from 160 for 4 to 165 for 6 in no time at all. Again lower-order resistance seemed to getting in the way of the bowling side, but new-ball bowler Stuart Whittingham got the breakthrough and that triggered another collapse. This time, UAE went from 202 for 6 to 218 all out. Whittingham was one of four Scotland bowlers to pick up a pair of wickets, and most of them did it in miserly spells, translating into a comfortable win for their team.
The two teams will feature in a rematch on January 23 at the same venue to round-off the tri-series.