Scotland have been kept waiting in more ways than one in their quest to exorcise their 50-over World Cup ghosts. More than five years have passed since they were unfairly deprived of a place at the 2019 tournament through no fault of their own, something that still resonates – privately at least – with those survivors of that qualifying tournament debacle.

They have had to keep their powder dry a little bit longer, too, upon their return to Zimbabwe, watching how the other nine teams fare in their opening group games in the first three days of play until they get their own chance to showcase their talents this morning when Ireland provide the opposition in Bulawayo.

It is a fraught qualifying process with only two teams from the 10 making it to the finals in India this year but there is no sign of any inferiority complex among the Scotland squad, no notion that they are “just happy to be here” against bigger nations like Sri Lanka or the West Indies. This is a group that expects to go all the way.

“I’m hoping everyone back home is expecting us to qualify – that’s definitely our expectation,” said vice-captain Matt Cross. “We came here five years ago and played really well. We were a bit unlucky at times but we showed what we were all about. Since that tournament we’ve gone on to play well at two World Cups and taken down some big teams so there’s no fear factor about who’s here at this tournament. We know we’re capable of beating everybody here.

“To be honest I don’t think anything’s really changed for us playing last. We’ve still got four big games in front of us and have to go to try to win every single one.”

Ireland will take to the field already facing an uphill struggle to make the Super 6 stage having lost their group opener to Oman. Motivation, then, for both sides will not be in short supply but Cross believes tensions are always high whenever these two Celtic cousins meet.

“There’s always a little bit of extra fuel when it’s Scotland versus Ireland,” added the wicketkeeper. “It’s one of my favourite games and hopefully we can get off to a good start to the tournament.

“We can’t read too much into their defeat. It just shows how competitive this tournament is going to be. The way we look at it is that after every game you have to park it and move on and I’m sure Ireland are probably going to say the same thing. It’s all about us. It may give them some more fire but there’s never any need for extra fire when it comes to Scotland and Ireland.

“What’s our plan? We’re going to try to score more runs than Ireland I think! But it’s a simple game, cricket. Ultimately the conditions are pretty set fair. They offer something for everybody. It will come down to performances from the boys.”

Wet, springtime weather did for Scotland in 2018 but that is not likely to be a factor this time around with Zimbabwe enjoying a sunny, dry winter. So far at least.

“It’s been very consistent since we’ve been here,” added Cross. “Last time we were here there were a few showers and that does affect things but luckily it looks set to be a pretty good month of weather.

“As you’ve seen so far most teams have looked to bowl first with the potential for a bit of swing and movement early on. But once that’s been weathered guys have looked comfortable and as the day progresses spin has come more into the game and the wickets go low. Throughout the day there’s opportunities for guys to get big runs and bowlers to get wickets.”

Cross prefers to take positive memories from 2018 rather than stewing in frustration.

“It shows the level that we can play at and that we’re as good as all the teams here,” he added. “In the last four or five years we’ve beaten all the teams here. It’s about us turning up on the day and doing a job. There’s no animosity about what happened five years ago. We’re just in a really good space and looking to show up and qualify for the World Cup.”