Scotland offer poor response in bid to catch Pakistan in Edinburgh
|First one-day international, The Grange, Edinburgh:|
|Pakistan 231-7 (50 overs) beat Scotland 135 all out (39.4 overs) by 96 runs|
It was a tale of two captains as Scotland failed miserably to make the most of a promising start against Pakistan at a sun-drenched Grange in Edinburgh.
Kyle Coetzer, leading the hosts for the first time, might just have let his mind stray to thoughts of taking a major scalp as he opened the innings chasing a none-too-daunting 231-7.
But hopes of a first success against one of the big boys ebbed away following the Northants batsman's dismissal for 32 in the 17th over.
Thereafter, Scotland simply could not live with the Pakistan attack and fell well short, finishing 96 runs behind in the 40th over.
Coetzer described his team's efforts to catch Pakistan as "very disappointing" and highlighted the Scots' inability to build up a head of steam.
He told BBC Scotland: "We picked up wickets, which put pressure on them, and we were able to squeeze them.
"We could sort of see it unfolding but we lost the impetus. If we had managed to keep the run rate going, the board would have been ticking over constantly and we might still have been in the game.
"But because we lost a few wickets we were out of the game.
"There are a couple of things we need to discuss in the dressing room. I've got a whole lot of confidence in these guys that they will come back strong."
For the visitors, Misbah-ul-Haq used all of his experience and considerable talent to breathe life into an innings that was threatening to sag.
The Pakistan skipper, who will celebrate his 39th birthday on this tour, has taken some flak for his cautious approach as he steers a callow side bidding to recover respectability after the bruising scandals of 2009 and 2010.
Following a solid but unspectacular opening, the visitors were wobbling on 115 for five when Umar Amin went for three.
But Misbah rode to the rescue as he crafted a vital 78 not out from 83 balls, including two mighty sixes.
Majid Haq did much to stem the Pakistan run flow and the off-spinner set a new Scottish record for one-day wickets in the process.
His 3-39 from 10 overs took him to 44 wickets at this level, surpassing the efforts of John Blain.
"It's a proud moment for me," said Haq, whose captain called him "exceptional".
"But we have probably thrown away the best chance I can remember of beating a full member side in a 50 over game.
"It was an unbelievable effort from the boys to restrict Pakistan to 231 on a fast ground like this. I was pretty confident. We needed a good start and we were 50 for one, but we kept losing wickets.
"We lost by a huge margin and that is disappointing.
"It's maybe because we haven't done it yet - beat a full member side - we don't have that experience of getting over the finishing line. If Ireland kept Pakistan to 230, they would expect to win in 45 overs."
Scotland chose to field five of the six new faces available after recent changes to eligibility rules.
Neil Carter, who, at 38 has retired from county cricket, opened the bowling and batting to underwhelming effect.
But Coetzer's county colleague David Murphy enjoyed a solid display behind the stumps and Rob Taylor turned in a parsimonious bowling spell and managed 13 runs from 13 balls as the Scottish wickets tumbled in quick succession.
Matt Machan and Iain Wardlaw can be satisfied with their bowling but the former will have been disappointed to chop onto his own stumps from the imposing figure of Mohammad Ifran.
At 7ft 1in, the green giant did not look so jolly as he powered in his deliveries and struggled to find any rhythm.
Junaid Khan and Saeed Ajmal fared much better, each claiming three victims, while the Scots were completely flummoxed by the crafty Mohammad Hafeez, who conceded a mere 12 runs from his eight overs.
The sound of leather on willow has all too often given way to soggy squelches and the covers being rolled out in the opening weeks of the Scottish season.
Wholly unexpected sunshine made life a little easier for Pakistan, who had been training at home in 40C temperatures before their arrival, and made for perfect viewing conditions.
It's just a pity such a small crowd turned out. But, like the home team, Scotland's cricket fans have a chance to redeem themselves when the sides meet again on Sunday.