Richie Berrington crunched a fabulous 70 and Josh Davey took four wickets as Scotland moved to the brink of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Super 12 with a 17-run win against Papua New Guinea.
Berrington arrived at the crease with Scotland on 26 for two and struck nine boundaries in a 49-ball knock that set them on the path to an impressive 165 for nine.
PNG fell to 35 for five in reply and, though Norman Vanua hit 47 to help stage a recovery, Davey saw Scotland over the line with some smart bowling late to take career-best T20I figures and the best by a Scottish bowler at the T20 World Cup.
It was another impressive performance from Scotland, who beat Bangladesh in their Group B opener and are now on the verge of reaching the Super 12 for the first time.
Scotland won the toss and chose to bat, and they made a promising start with George Munsey and captain Kyle Coezter hitting a boundary each in the opening over.
Munsey was particularly proactive and hit two more boundaries in the second over to take Scotland to 22 for no loss from 12 balls, but PNG hit back when Kabua Morea clean bowled Coezter with an in-swinger that went through bat and pad and hit middle stump.
Munsey’s cameo of 15 from ten balls ended in the fourth over when he skied spinner Chad Soper into the hands of Lega Siaka.
Taking pace off the ball worked for PNG, with Scotland only able to score nine runs from the next two overs.
But Berrington’s mammoth 97-metre six in the seventh over and a pulled four at the beginning of the eighth was a timely reminder of Scotland’s ability to score, as they reached 67 for two at the halfway stage of the innings.
Both Berrington and Matthew Cross were settled and sensed the right time to hit the accelerator, with the former adding a thumping four over extra cover, another huge six over long-off and a four through fine leg.
Cross, who started steadily, weighed in with two fours and two sixes of his own but he eventually fell for a 36-ball 45 when Simon Atai had him caught in the deep.
Berrington reached his half-century with a lofted four down the ground and followed up with two more sixes, as Scotland put their foot down in search of a big total.
PNG hit back late on, as Soper removed Callum MacLeod for ten and then Berrington two balls later for 70, with the 34-year-old finding a fielder in the deep.
There were four further wickets in the final over, as Morea dismissed Chris Greaves, Michael Leask was run out and Davey and Mark Watt also fell to the bowler, as Scotland finished on 165/9.
PNG made a slow start in reply, with Tony Ura out in the second over after chopping a Davey delivery onto his stumps.
Assad Vala made a fluent 18, including four fours, but PNG lost wickets early as Siaka edged Brad Wheal behind and Vala skied a leading edge off Alasdair Evans.
PNG were scoring at healthy rate but could not stem the tide of wickets, with Charles Amini run out in the sixth over after trying to come back for two following a clip to deep backward square.
Berrington then backed up his brilliant batting performance with a reflex catch at backward point to send Atai back to the pavilion for just two, leaving PNG on 35/5 after six overs.
Sese Bau and Vanua steadied the ship but Bau was caught by Wheal in the deep for 24 in the 12th over.
Vanua took up the charge and belted two sixes and two fours to carry PNG past 100 but when Cross stumped Kiplin Doriga for 18, their charge faltered.
Vanua eventually fell to Davey for a spirited 47, Nosaina Pokana was run out for one and, although Morea hit a massive six to set up an interesting final over, Soper was caught behind as Scotland confirmed a 17-run win.
Scores in Brief
Scotland 165/9 in 20 overs (Richie Berrington 70; Matthew Cross 45; Kabua Morea 4/31; Chad Soper 3/24)
Papua New Guinea 148 all out in 19.3 overs (Norman Vanua 47; Sese Bau 24; Josh Davey 4/18; Alasdair Evans 1/22)
Player of the Match: Richie Berrington (Scotland).