A BRILLIANT 70 from Matthew Cross helped Scotland land a precious World Cup qualifying win against Papua New Guinea.

Shane Burger’s men are in Oman this week for a series of one-day internationals as they look to edge closer to a place at the 2023 50-over Finals.

 And they made the perfect start with a six-wicket win in their World Cricket League 2 opener.

Set a target of 198 to win, openers Cross and Kyle Coetzer put Scotland in the driving seat as they put up 78 for the first wicket.

And after both fell, it was left to George Munsey (27 not out) and Dylan Budge (7 not out) to eventually see Scotland through to a comfortable win with seven overs to go.

A delighted Burger said: “I’m extremely happy with us winning the first game and really chuffed with the performance that the boys put in today, especially in the hot conditions. As much as you prepare back home, it’s never quite like being in the real thing and so being out there today was a bit of a shock to the system, but the boys came through it well.

“We bowled well at stages and managed to keep getting wickets which was key, but we know there’s a lot of areas we need to keep improving in.

“It was really good to see the seamers work in tandem and then our spinners come in and do a great job. There were also two superb catches by Ally Evans, which was a game changing moment, and Calum MacLeod. 

 “From a batting point of view, getting off to a good start like we did was really encouraging, I thought that Matthew Cross was outstanding to play the way he did. To wicket keep for the whole innings and then go out and open the batting is a really tough ask and he did it with flying colours and played superbly.

 “It was great to see us finish the game so clinically.”

Coetzer had won the toss and elected to bowl in the 36C heat, with Safyaan Sharif striking early to remove Tony Ura in the second over.

The wickets continued to tumble as the Scots denied their opponents the chance to establish any meaningful partnerships. When Gavin Main had Norman Vanua trapped leg before for 13, Papua New Guinea were teetering on 125 for 8.

A brilliant ninth-wicket 66-run partnership, however, frustrated Scotland, with Chad Soper finishing on 46 not out and Damien Rovu making 32 to help the Pacific side to a more respectable 197 all out.

The pick of the bowlers were Main and Hamza Tahir who took three wickets apiece.

 Scotland made a strong start in their reply through Coetzer and Cross before the captain fell for 23.

Cross went on to make his 50 from just 46 balls as he and MacLeod continued to take the game to their opponents.

Cross eventually went for 70 stumped but MacLeod’s 45 steadied the ship. And after he fell, Munsey and Budge finished the job, with the former sealing the win with a six.

Next up for Scotland is Oman on Tuesday and Burger said: “We’re in a good place. We know we have to take a lot from this game.

“There are still areas we have to improve in, but we’ll take a lot of heart from this and I’m really happy that we had a stretch game of cricket in the heat which will leave us in a good place moving forward.”