World Cup: Scotland have talent to break their duck

Yorkshire's Iain Wardlaw.
Yorkshire's Iain Wardlaw.
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He has played only 18 one-day internationals and considers himself “a batting all-rounder’’ but Josh Davey’s bowling will be crucial to Scotland’s search for a first win at the World Cup.

The 24-year-old has twice rewritten his country’s record books with what he claims is his secondary skill, taking 6-28 against Afghanistan last month to break his own mark of 5-9 against the same opposition in 2010.

With Afghanistan awaiting in Pool A, Preston Mommsen’s team will hope to finally break their duck in the game’s showpiece international tournament – having lost all eight games across their previous two outings.

Before that encounter, they will open their campaign against co-hosts New Zealand in Dunedin in front of 6,000 spectators at a sold-out University Oval.

“That’s the pinnacle of Scottish cricket really, to play in front of a big crowd like that will be a great showcase and a great ‘opening ceremony’ for us,’’ said Davey. “I think it’s the strongest Scotland squad we’ve had at a World Cup so we want to go and showcase our skills and obviously get that first win.

“With the bat there’s Kyle Coetzer, Richie Berrington, Matt Machan, they’ve all played big innings for Scotland.

“With the ball, you look at Iain Wardlaw – he’s a good bowler, he’s a wicket-taker. I think Majid Haq as well, he’s a good spinner.’’

Former Yorkshire paceman Wardlaw is in line to share new-ball duties with Davey, especially after taking the other four wickets to Davey’s historic half-dozen as Afghanistan were rolled for 63 in Abu Dhabi.

“There are a few guys who can take the new ball but that was about as good as it gets as an opening partnership,’’ said Davey, whose elevation to the role has coincided with a drop down the batting card from No 3 or 4 to the lower middle order.

“I do see myself more as a batting all-rounder really, but that’s the role that’s working for the team.’’

England also feature in Pool A, another game which is sure to be a highlight for Scotland and Davey – who is familiar with England’s new one-day captain Eoin Morgan, as well as Steven Finn, from his spell at Middlesex.

Finn’s return to form, with five wickets in the recent nine-wicket win over India, makes him a key bowler once again for his country, while Morgan’s leadership will be scrutinised after taking over from Alastair Cook.

“They’re world-class players,’’ said Davey. “It’s great to get a chance against players like that. I think you saw in the performance against India that the squad’s together under Eoin.”