Scotland's winning run in the ICC World Cup Qualifier came to a sobering end yesterday as they went down to a heavy 82-run defeat against Sri Lanka in Bulawayo.

Richie Berrington’s side appeared to be in with the chance of creating a shock and boosting their hopes of reaching the global showpiece later in the year when they dismissed their in-form rivals for 245.

However, a top order collapse soon had their hopes in tatters as they wobbled on 74-6 and eventually succumbed to 163 in 29 overs.

The writing was on the wall early in the Scottish reply when Matthew Cross, having just smoked a cover drive to the boundary, was bowled when Lahiru Kumara had his revenge with a brute of a delivery.

Scotland had gone in to the encounter wary of the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, the leg-spinner Warindu Hasaranga, but it was the mystery spin of Maheesh Theekshana which was to deal them a quickfire double blow.

He first spun the ball through Brandon McMullen’s defences and then claimed an even bigger scalp when he found the edge of Berrington’s bat, and Dhananjaya de Silva took a sharp chance at slip to remove the Scottish captain for 10.

Tom Mackintosh and Michael Leask also departed cheaply as Sri Lanka tightened their grip, though Chris McBride offered some hope by stroking two boundaries and a maximum in a knock of some defiance.

However, when he guided a Hasaranga full toss straight into the arms of Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka at cover to fall for 29, the Scots were in deep trouble on 73-5.

Hasaranga struck for a second time, trapping Mark Watt in front, and Theekshana claimed his third with Jack Jarvis his latest victim.

This Scottish side prides itself in batting deep and they proved it to be no idle claim when Chris Greaves and Chris Sole compiled the highest ninth-wicket partnership of the tournament.

The pair added 55 in rapid time, ruffling a few Sri Lankan feathers with a belligerent display of hitting.

Greaves was the main aggressor but Sole weighed-in with two attractive boundaries in a breezy 17 before being unfortunately run-out.

Greaves went on to make his highest ODI score, finishing unbeaten on 56 from just 41 balls with seven boundaries and two sixes.

His fun was brought to an end when Ali Evans became another run-out victim, desperately trying to give the strike to his partner.

Earlier, Scotland had bowled and fielded superbly to dismiss Sri Lanka for 245.

Sole made early inroads with a double strike, clean-bowling Dimuth Kurunaratne before seeing Kusal Mendis fall to Leask’s juggling catch.

Evans then marked his first ODI appearance for almost two years with a wicket to reduce Sri Lanka to 98-3.

However, half-centuries from Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka frustrated the Scots as the Lions stayed on course for a big total.

The former top scored with 75, including ten boundaries, while Asalanka hit a 65-ball 63 with four boundaries and two maximums.

Both batters fell to the excellent Mark Watt who finished with 3-52 but for the second game running the left-armer was upstaged by Greaves.

The leg-spinner’s introduction in the thirty-seventh over changed the course of the innings, Greaves first picking-up two wickets in as many balls and finishing with 4-32 as Sri Lanka lost their last six batters for just 42 runs.

Sole’s three catches were the highlight of a classy fielding display but defeat means the Scots may need to win at least two of their Super 6 matches – against Netherlands, West Indies and Zimbabwe – to have any chance of reaching the World Cup.

They open the next phase of the competition against West Indies on Saturday.

Skipper Berrington said: “I thought we did well in the first innings. We managed to get two early wickets and maybe didn’t quite capitalise, but we were fantastic in the last 15 overs and it was a great effort to bowl them out for less than 250.

“It wasn’t our day with the bat and it shows the importance of keeping wickets in hand. It’s disappointing to fall that many runs short.

“We’ll look to come back strong in the next game.”