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World Cup: Davey wickets can’t prevent Scotland loss

~JoshScotland’s search for their first World Cup win continues after losing to Sri Lanka by 148 runs today. However, there was a bright spot for the Scots (whose chance of qualification had gone) after Josh Davey’s three wickets took him to the top of the World Cup’s wicket-taking charts on 14, ahead of New Zealand stars Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

The Somerset all-rounder got rid of Sri Lanka’s ‘big three’ (Dilshan, Jayawardene and Sangakkara) in the space of only ten balls – Dilshan, backing away, mistimed to MacLeod at mid-off; Jayawardene spooned a catch high in the air to the same man; and Sangakkara, next ball, went after a full delivery and edged through to ‘keeper Matthew Cross.

But these wickets came with 200-plus already on the board, and were a mere blip as Sri Lanka motored towards a huge total. After winning the toss, they lost Lahiru Thirimanne early but Dilshan (104) and Sangakkara (124), both already in fine form, showed their class in a 195-run stand. Both men hit centuries (Sangakkara his fourth in a row) as they flayed the Scottish bowlers to all parts. The highlight was when Sangakkara, playing scoop shots as skilfully as his partner in crime, hit 4 fours and a six off an Alasdair Evans that went for 24.

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After their dismissals, Angelo Mathews took up the mantle – he hit 51 from just 21 balls, including 6 sixes and a single four. Despite late wickets, they reached a mammoth 363 for 9 from their 50 overs.

Davey didn’t escape punishment. Despite attempts at variation, Dilshan especially took a liking to him, hitting 6 fours and a six off the Somerset man’s bowling. He bowled eight out of his ten-over allocation, for 63 runs.

Scotland’s chase got off to the worst possible start when, second ball of the innings, Northamptonshire’s Kyle Coetzer offered a simple return catch to Lasith Malinga. Calum Macleod and Matt Machan soon followed, and the Scots were floundering on 44 for 3.

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But Preston Mommsen and Freddie Coleman consolidated, and the pair found the boundary regularly while running hard between the wickets. It took a good diving catch from Thirimanne to break the partnership, which ended Mommsen’s fine innings for 60 and the stand for 118.

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New man Richie Berrington tried his best to resist, hitting 2 fours and 2 sixes in a cameo of 29, but wickets fell quickly around him, including Coleman for 70. The Scotland lower order collapsed to Nuwan Kulasekara and World Cup debutant Dushmantha Chameera – none of the bottom five reached double figures. Davey entered the fray at number ten, and was last out – caught by Thirimanne off Chameera for 4 from 7 balls.

Scotland have now lost five from five in this tournament, but, whatever happens in their final match, Davey will return home happy with his own performance. Reflecting on topping the wickets table, he told the BBC: “it’s surprising, but it’s a fairly decent achievement”.

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Scotland’s final chance at a win will be a tough test against Australia on Saturday, while Sri Lanka’s group stage is done and dusted. Barring upsets, they will finish in 3rd place in Pool A.

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