Two Somerset bowlers were in action throughout the group stages of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. In the second of a special two-part review for The Incider, Dan Kingdom focuses on Josh Davey, who at one stage was the tournament’s leading wicket-taker.
Scotland entered the 2015 World Cup off the back of an excellent couple of years with one of their best ever squads. Fancied by many to cause an upset, they were encouraged by a narrow opening loss to New Zealand, but sadly they were unable to come close against any other test nations and lost their most winnable games to Afghanistan (albeit tightly) and Bangladesh.
Somerset’s Josh Davey, however, had a tournament to remember, taking 15 wickets (including at least one in every game) and at one point topping the wicket-taking charts. He sometimes leaked too many runs, but his performances leave little doubt that he will feature for Somerset’s senior team this season.
Scotland v New Zealand – New Zealand won by 3 wickets
Scotland put up a good fight in their opening match, narrowly losing to a strong New Zealand side. From 12 for 4, Matt Machan and Richie Berington put on 97, with both batsmen scoring fifties. But they failed to kick on and the next highest Scottish score was 14. Davey was the not out batsman, hitting 11 from 19 balls as Scotland laboured to 142 all out.
But the chase wasn’t plain sailing for New Zealand. From 106 for 3, they suffered a collapse, instigated by Davey’s removal of Kane Williamson caught behind. He also got rid of Somerset 2015 overseas player Corey Anderson (caught flicking through leg) and Luke Ronchi (caught in the deep), but New Zealand won with three wickets to spare. Davey’s final figures were 7-0-40-3.
Scotland v England – England won by 119 runs
After a solid start, coupled with England’s low confidence, Scotland believed they had a chance when they came up against the old enemy. England started well though, with Moeen Ali smashing 128 and Ian Bell 54, and they looked set for a score of 350 at least. But a batting collapse, again featuring contributions from Davey, ensured England scored only 303. Davey took four wickets for 68 runs from his ten overs, including Joe Root (caught behind), James Taylor (stumped off a wide one thanks to excellent work from ‘keeper Matthew Cross), Eoin Morgan (caught at midwicket) and Chris Woakes (caught at mid-off).
303 proved too many for Scotland, however, with only Kyle Coetzer (71) making a significant contribution. Preston Mommsen (26) was the next-highest scorer, while Davey managed 9 from 15 deliveries. The wickets were spread evenly as the Scots were all out for just 184.
Scotland v Afghanistan – Afghanistan won by 1 wicket
Scotland went in to their match with Afghanistan, knowing a win was almost essential to keep their hopes of progression alive. Batting first, once again they disappointed, with six batsmen making more than 22 but none going past 31. Dawlat Zadran took three wickets, while Shapoor Zadran took four including Davey for 1 from 9 overs.
Javed Ahmadi scored 51 for Afghanistan but they found themselves struggling on 97 for 7 in the 24th over. Davey had just taken Naib’s wicket, and he had earlier removed captain Mohammad Nabi lbw. Some sensational batting from Samiullah Shenwari brought the Afghans within sight, but Davey’s catch off Majid Haq dismissed him for 96. Upon his dismissal Afghanistan were still 19 runs short, but composed batting from Hamid Hassan and Shapoor Zadran ensured a thrilling first victory in World Cups for the war-torn nation. Davey had satisfactory final figures of 10-1-34-2.
Scotland v Bangladesh – Bangladesh won by 6 wickets
Scotland’s first respectable batting performance of the tournament was not enough to beat a spirited Bangladesh side. Coetzer again impressed with 156, while Machan, Mommsen and Berrington played useful supporting roles. Davey hit 4 not out from 3 balls as Scotland finished on a competitive 318 for 8.
Despite two more wickets for Davey (conceding 68 runs from ten overs), Bangladesh chased their target with relative ease. Tamim Iqbal was the mainstay with 95, before he fell to the Somerset all-rounder lbw. Soumya Sarkar had been his other wicket, caught behind early on for 5. But Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan all hit fifties as Bangladesh won with eleven balls to spare.
Despite another loss for Scotland, Davey rose to the top of the World Cup wicket-taking charts with three against a strong Sri Lankan side. He got rid of their ‘big three’ of Tillakaratne Dilshan (mistiming a catch to mid-off), Mahela Jayawardene (spooning a catch high in the air) and Kumar Sangakkara (edging to ‘keeper Cross), all in the space of ten balls.
Earlier, however, Dilshan and Sangakkara had both scored centuries in a mammoth total of 363. Davey didn’t escape punishment – he conceded 63 runs from his eight overs.
Scotland never looked like chasing their target down, despite a lively partnership of 118 between Mommsen (60) and Freddie Coleman (70). The top order had collapsed and the lower order did the same, with Davey making 4 from 7 balls.
Scotland v Australia – Australia won by 7 wickets
Scotland ended their campaign winless after crashing to a loss against co-hosts and eventual World Cup winners Australia. Their batting line-up failed one last time, with Machan top-scoring with 40 in a total of 130 all out. Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins were the chief perpetrators, taking four and three wickets respectively. Davey, who was dismissed by the former, managed 26 from 35 balls as he and Michael Leask showed some resistance towards the end.
Australia fiddled with their batting order for their chase, but they finished it off as early as the 16th over. Davey took the wicket of Shane Watson caught behind, but was taken for 38 runs from his five overs in a highly efficient win for Australia.
Despite six losses from six, there is no doubt that Scotland enhanced their reputation during the World Cup. Davey’s wickets were undoubtedly a highlight, while there were good batting performances from Coetzer, Machan, Mommsen and Berrington. Too often, though, the Scots were unable to sustain a period of pressure and their bright spots were all too brief. But this is a young team and there is, undoubtedly, much to work with in the future.
Speaking about Davey and George Dockrell’s World Cup performances at Somerset’s recent media day, Director of Cricket Matt Maynard said: “It’s very encouraging. It shows the strength of the squad really.
“A lot of that [how much they will feature in the first XI] will depend on their associate commitments. They’ve got the Intercontinental Cup again this year as well as the World T20 qualifiers, so selection will be based on time available here really.
“It’s like anything else; they’ll still have to prove themselves when they’re back here to get the gig.
“Josh was leading wicket-taker for a little while there in the World Cup. He had a really good World Cup. And George had a couple of setbacks towards the backend maybe, but he’s had a very strong competition and I’m sure they’ll play a part at some stage this season.”
Not outs: 2
High score: 26
Strike rate: 62.50
Bowling and fielding
Best bowling: 4/68
Strike rate: 20.0