ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 14th Match: Moeen’s all-round performance flattens Scotland

Ali excelled with both the bat and ball

Ali excelled with both the bat and ball

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

England all-rounder Moeen Ali smashed a career-best 128 and took two wickets to not only help his side flatten Scotland by 119 runs, but also give them their first win of the World Cup.

Ali was well supported by his opening partner Ian Bell, who scored 54.

However, Scotland opener Kyle Coetzer deserves some credit for his valiant knock of 71.

Scotland captain Preston Mommsen would have been mulling over his decision to bowl first after Ali and Bell amassed a 172-run partnership, which is now England’s largest opening standĀ in World Cup history.

During their record-breaking partnership, Ali brought up his second ODI century and Bell his half-century, before Bell was caught by Coetzer at short cover off the bowling of Richie Berrington.

Bell’s solid knock of 54 came off 85 balls and included two boundaries.

Bell hit two boundaries during his knock of 54

Bell hit two boundaries during his knock of 54

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Ali went on to score a career-best 128, which came off 107 deliveries and included 12 boundaries and five sixes, before he was caught by Freddie Coleman at deep midwicket off the bowling of Majid Haq.

Following Ali’s dismissal, England’s middle and lower order, with the exception of skipper Eoin Morgan, who scored 46, and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler, who made 24, collapsed as they went from 201/2 to finishing on 303/8 off their 50 overs.

Josh Davey was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Haq, Berrington, Iain Wardlaw and Alasdair Evans chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 304 to win, Scotland got off to a poor start as Calum MacLeod, Coleman and Matt Machan were all dismissed at regular intervals.

With Scotland struggling at 54/3, Coetzer and Mommsen put together a 60-run partnership, during which Coetzer recorded his half-century, before Mommsen was caught by Stuart Broad at deep backward square leg off the bowling of Joe Root for 26.

Coetzer ended up making 71 off 84 balls, which included 11 boundaries, before he was caught by Chris Woakes at long-on off the bowling of Ali.

Coetzer made a gutsy 71

Coetzer made a gutsy 71

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

After Coetzer was back in the pavilion, Scotland’s middle and lower order did not put up much of a fight as they went from 122/5 to being bowled out for 184.

Steven Finn was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Ali, Woakes and James Anderson snapped up two wickets each and Root claimed one.

Mommsen was disappointed with his team’s performance, and said: “We won the toss and we we would have liked a few more early wickets. We pulled them back nicely but didn’t get going in the chase. We didn’t quite hit our areas but credit to our bowlers for bouncing back in the death. We thought we were in with a shot and needed a partnership upfront but didn’t get one that we needed. Joshy did great work at the death and Kyle batted beautifully there. NZ game was a tough first World Cup match for a lot of the boys. Today some learnings for us and hopefully we’ll be better when we come up against Afghanistan. This is a huge step up from county to international – more pressure, huge crowds, there’s more at stake.”

Morgan was ecstaticĀ that England won their first game of the World Cup, and said: “Delighted with today’s performance, today we played not within ourselves but expressed ourselves a little bit, which was good to see. Two openers were exceptional and ideally we would have liked to kick on without stuttering. But we recovered really well to a good score. We are really flexible in our batting, today was all about a win. As we get close to the Powerplay we are flexible. Nice to get some runs under my bat. I thought our bowlers were really good, standout from Finn and Broady got rewarded. Moeen was brilliant chipping in with his 10 overs. It’s great to have Anderson and Broad back at full strength, their combination works and that’s a massive plus for us.”

Ali was named Man of the Match, and said: “Nice to spend time in the middle and get through the first 10 overs. It was not an easy pitch to start, takes a bit of time to play some shots but we did well to score over 300. At one time I thought of maybe 330-340 but it was not an easy pitch and at least we got 300. Nice to get a bit of form before the next match and hopefully I can continue. Thank god for winning the game and hopefully we can win the next three in a row. Don’t think I bowled that well today, haven’t bowled for a couple of weeks in matches now.”

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