Saturday’s conclusion of the U19 World Cup Europe Qualifier saw Scotland emerge victorious, topping the table in the Netherlands to confirm their place as the 15th team to qualify for the main event in Sri Lanka in January.
Needing to avoid defeat and a substantial swing in net run-rate, the Saltires led by skipper Owen Gould, comfortably defeated Italy by 151 runs to cue the celebrations and book their third successive appearance at the event.
Batting first, Scotland were well set at 193 for one before a glut of wickets fell, limiting their total to 229 from 39.4 overs. Opener Jamie Dunk top-scored for the Saltires with an impressive 96 from 99 balls, but Gurpreet Singh inspired the collapse, taking seven Scottish wickets for 25 runs from his eight overs. In reply, Italy struggled out of the blocks and never recovered, skittled for 78 after Adi Hegde took five for 15 from his nine overs.
Wins over Jersey, hosts Netherlands and Norway had preceded Saturday’s triumph, and their unbeaten campaign ensured they claimed top spot after a week of see-saw encounters between the competing nations.
Boasting a string of talented youngsters, Scotland’s collective success featured several notable individual performances. Dunk was named the Player of the Tournament for the Qualifier, ending the week with 255 runs from four matches.
The opening fixture saw seamer Alec Price claim four wickets for 29 runs to earn their first win of the campaign against Jersey by 70 runs. The following match was a high-scoring affair against the Netherlands, and the Saltires held off their opponents by 46 runs thanks to half-centuries from Price (82) and Bahadar Esakhiel (55). Price and Dunk (52 not out) orchestrated the win against Norway, easing to a ten-wicket win chasing down a low target of 117 thanks to a fine bowling display.
Reflecting on his side’s successful campaign in the Netherlands, Scotland captain Gould said, "It feels incredible to win the tournament and I'm really proud of everyone. It feels really good to cross the line and get to Sri Lanka.
“We had a tricky prep phase but gelled together really well this week, came together at the right time and got the four wins and we're looking forward to the next step.”
The ongoing U19 Americas Qualifier will determine the final nation to qualify for the World Cup, completing the lineup of teams heading to Sri Lanka with their sights on seizing the silverware.