New Zealand 225 for 5 (Allen 101, Guptill 40) beat Scotland 157 for 8 (MacLeod 33, Greaves 31, Sodhi 4-28) by 68 runs
The Grange, nestled in leafy Stockbridge, Edinburgh, is a place of beauty. It is everything cricket should be. Intimate, homely and welcoming.
But on this Wednesday in late July, it felt like a place holding much darkness. Scottish cricket has reached, it hopes, its annus horribilis.
Now Allen is a special talent, who will light up both international and franchise stages for years to come.
Both spoke out about their experiences bravely, initiating and driving the review forward. Both were present at The Grange, willingly engaging with all who spoke to them in the hope of the one thing they really want; to make things better for those who come next.
“I’m not here to judge what’s right or wrong or what has happened. I haven’t been privy to conversations that have happened in the past. All I know is we all need to get better, we all need to improve and we would like to do this together.”
Having heard Sheikh would be attending, Burger picked up the phone to extend a welcome. It was a call that Sheikh appreciated. “I just wanted to say thank you for coming to support us,” Burger explained. “Because that’s the only way we get better and heal from this. We want more fans to support the badge. I want to wear this badge with pride and I’m sure all the players do.”
And then Chris Sole’s first delivery should have seen off Martin Guptill in the second over. An overstep gave Guptill a reprieve. Two down for not many; what might have been.
For Allen and Sole, the remainder of the innings could not have been more contrasting. Allen was a force of measured brutality. He got up on his toes off Sole, punching him through cover, before clipping off those same toes wide of long on. With the powerplay done, Allen shuffled and hit Tahir into the hedges next to the sightscreen. Two balls later, he cleared them.
Now back to poor Sole. That no-ball cost 16 from the over and 40 all told, those runs made breezily by Guptill. He fell to Berrington with the score on 85.
Allen would then smash a further illegitimate delivery for a one-handed six. Again Allen’s hand and handle were parted, but Mark Watt was still driven straight. Three figures came in just 54 balls. “I’ve been working on my tempo a little bit for the last few months,” he said afterwards. “For it to come off was nice. It was good to put a performance on the board for New Zealand.”
Late cameos from Daryl Mitchell (23* from 13) and Jimmy Neesham, who crunched 30 off just 9 balls, took New Zealand to a daunting 225.
Scotland started serenely enough, if a little slow-paced. That meant that, despite reaching 62 without loss after eight, the required run rate was at 13.66. Even on a ground with such small dimensions, that would take some going.
Calum Macleod quickly offered Mitchell Santner a caught and bowled, before Sodhi – who eventually matched the 4 for 28 he took against Australia in 2021 – bowled Berrington. Scotland had slipped to 73 for 4.
Although Greaves made a spirited 31 at a decent lick, the home crowd’s biggest late afternoon cheer came when Neesham misfielded in front of the Portaloos.
Otherwise, it was virtually silent. Perhaps some time for reflection. Much of that is needed.