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Scotland targeting 'scalps and headlines' at World Cup

Richie Berrington poses with other Group B captains with the T20 World Cup trophy
Richie Berrington (left) will captain Scotland at a T20 World Cup for the second time [Getty Images]

ICC Men's T20 World Cup, Group B: England v Scotland

Venue: Kensington Oval, Bridgetown Date: Tue, 4 June Time: 15:30 BST

Coverage: Live on BBC Test Match Special on BBC Sounds and Radio 5 Sports Extra on Tuesday, with text commentary and in-play video clips on the BBC Sport website and app

Scotland have made a habit of punching above their weight at ICC global events in recent years.

In 2021, they started their T20 World Cup campaign with a win over Bangladesh, while in the same competition a year later they downed two-time champions West Indies in Hobart.

At last summer's 50-over World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe, Scotland beat the hosts, West Indies and Ireland as they came agonisingly close to reaching the tournament proper, only to fall to the Netherlands at the final hurdle.

Once more underdogs, Scotland start their 2024 T20 World Cup against England on Tuesday before facing Namibia, Oman and Australia in Group B. The top two sides will advance to the Super 8s.

"Success for us is getting to the next stage," spinner Mark Watt said. "Taking a few scalps along the way, putting some headlines out."

Scotland have perhaps never written a greater headline than the last time these two sides met.

In 2018, the Scots won a thrilling one-day international in Edinburgh by six runs, thanks largely to Calum MacLeod's magnificent 140 not out.

Watt was the pick of Scotland's bowlers that day, taking 3-55, and the 27-year-old is targeting another upset in Barbados.

"We’ve been there and done that, so that gives us the belief we can do it again," he said. "All the guys are raring to go.

"You’ve got to take the same approach to every game, keep doing the basics well and give 110%. You never know what’s going to happen on the day.

"They have a lot of match-winners, but they’ve not been in the Caribbean for much preparation, so hopefully they take a bit of time to get used to the pitches.

"We’ve been out here [for over a week]. That could be a slight advantage for us."

'We've got a point to prove'

Scotland's regular wins against full-member nations are more impressive when one considers they very rarely play against them outside ICC tournaments.

Bilateral series come around maybe once a year, with international cricket providing very few opportunities for associate nations to test themselves against the world's best.

Indeed, Scotland last faced Australia in any form of cricket nine years ago and have never played them in a T20.

"Our guys have also got a point to prove as we’ve not had a huge amount of cricket over the last couple of years," seam bowler Brad Wheal said.

"This is an opportunity for guys to put their hands up and show the world we can challenge any international squad. Hopefully more fixtures come off the back of it if we impress some people."

Scotland are only ranked above Oman in Group B - a consequence of their lack of cricket - but with a similar squad to the one that came through qualifying in home conditions last summer, head coach Doug Watson is confident.

"Every tournament we play, we want to win every game," the South African added.

"But we just need to dial it back and make sure we are focusing on every moment of every game and not looking too far ahead. We also need to make sure we enjoy every moment."