Troubled Scotland easy pickings for New Zealand
It’s rare that we see a match up in international cricket quite as lopsided as this match.
Not only were New Zealand runners-up in last year’s T20I World Cup, while Scotland are languishing at 15th in the world and unable to move below the pool stage last year, but the Scottish team is also heavily under fire through reports of institutional racism.
Add to that the Kiwi’s hot form again Ireland, and Scotland’s lack of match play this year, and we can expect this game to be a old-fashioned walloping.
Here’s a closer look at the odds, and the betting news heading into today’s match.
Coetzer retires as Scotland up against it in first T20I
As a developing cricket nation, it’s hard enough playing New Zealand in the best of circumstances.
For Scotland, however, this series couldn’t come at a worse time. Not only are they on a five-match losing streak, having dropped their last five games against Pakistan, India, New Zealand, Namibia and Afghanistan to crash out of the 2021 T20 World Cup, but their camp is also undergoing significant off the field issues as well.
Last year’s captain, Kyle Coetzer, has just retired from T20Is with immediate effect. He resigned from the captaincy last month, handing the responsibility over to Richie Berrington, but has now completely thrown in the towel, choosing to call curtains on his international career.
“From a personal point of view, I am looking forward to having a bit more time to spend with my family with two young daughters while also focusing on my coaching career and having more time for that. But ultimately, it is about what is best for the direction of the team going forward.”
While Coetzer was suffering from a streak of poor form, averaging only 12.00 in last year’s World Cup, Scotland will miss his experience in big matches like this one against New Zealand.
Racism report adds to Scotland’s woes
If playing New Zealand without your most recent captain, while on a five-match losing streak wasn’t bad enough, Scotland Cricket have just come under fire from a damning racism report.
The report, published on Monday, outlined 448 examples of institutional racism, and illustrated 29 out of 31 failures in tests run to measure the depth of the issue in Scotland’s camp. These complaints were originally surfaced by Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh, two former players.
While the extent of the backlash to this report is yet to be seen, the entire board of Scotland Cricket has already resigned, and there is sure to be turmoil within the team and management.
New Zealand sitting pretty
Contrary to Scotland’s troubles, New Zealand are well placed to come out and perform strongly in this series.
With their eyes on the T20 World Cup later this year, New Zealand will be wanting to have a good hit out, blooding a few new players and getting established team members into good form before more challenging games further down the line.
New Zealand come into the series off a comfortable 3-0 series sweep over Ireland, where they batted solidly (scores of 180/4, 179/4 and 173/8), but bowled exceptionally, twice taking all ten of Ireland’s wickets. Prior to this, New Zealand had had several T20Is cancelled due to weather or Covid, so the memories of last year’s T2o World Cup final will still be fresh.
This form is reflected in today’s odds, with New Zealand a whopping -1000 favorite, and Scotland an unlikely +520.
Scotland’s only solace will be the fact that in their last meeting, in the group stages of the 2021 World Cup, they remained competitive—restricting New Zealand to 172/5, and only falling 16 runs short by reaching 156/5.
Whether or not Scotland can manage such a competitive performance this time around remains to be seen.