Sharif emerges once again

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SCOTLAND’S cricketers — including two Clydesdale players — were finally knocked out of contention for a place in the Twenty20 World Cup later this year when they lost to the Netherlands in the play-offs of the qualifying tournament in Dubai last week.writes Mike Stanger

The Scots scraped through to the play-offs in a dramatic last group-stage game against the USA.

Having posted a challenging target in the first innings, the Scots reached the last over, needing to prevent the lowly-placed Americans from winning the game before the fourth ball of the final over, which would have given Kenya the final place in the play-offs.

With a string of injuries already behind them, Scotland captain Gordon Drummond called upon his youngest player, 20-year-old Safyaan Sharif, to bowl the final over.

Sharif, a new recruit for the Clydesdale club for the domestic season about to start, literally strained every sinew to successfully keep the USA at bay for the required three balls.

But after bowling his fourth ball in the vain search for actual victory, Sharif had to retire from the field in acute pain with what later proved to be a cracked rib that could keep him out of the game until May.

Majid Haq, the other Clydesdale player in the Scotland team, said: “It was a brave and magnificent effort by Safy, which bodes well for the club whenever he recovers from his injury”.

Off-spinner Haq himself was one of the stars of the Scotland performance over nine match .

Both players are expected still to be playing for Scotland when the next Twenty20 qualifier takes place in two years’ time.