A talking point that often comes up regarding the state of cricket is the balance between bat and ball.
In 1992, Scotland broke away from the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB), thus creating their own cricketing identity separate from England.
They gained Associate membership of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1994, making them eligible to play in the ICC Trophy, as the World Cup Qualifier was then known. Scotland’s first appearance in the ICC Trophy was the 1997 edition in Malaysia.
With three berths for the 1999 World Cup at stake, Scotland beat Ireland by 51 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method in the third-place playoff.
They thus joined winners Bangladesh and runners-up Kenya as the teams to have qualified for the World Cup.
Though the World Cup was primarily hosted by England, Scotland were allotted two home fixtures in Edinburgh, against Bangladesh and New Zealand.
Besides Bangladesh and New Zealand, Scotland’s other opponents in Group B were Australia, Pakistan and the West Indies. The Scots faced a stern test in their opening game, as they took on Australia, who would eventually go on to win the title, at the County Ground at New Road in Worcester on May 16, 1999.
Since the ICC Trophy was not accorded ODI status, this game marked Scotland’s first ever ODI fixture.
Scotland were captained by George Salmond, a middle-order batsman. But the star batsman in the Scottish ranks was southpaw Gavin Hamilton, who had been playing for Yorkshire since 1994.
A lot depended on him if Scotland were to muster a competitive total on the board after Steve Waugh won the toss and elected to field. Opening for Scotland was the right-handed duo of Bruce Patterson and Ian Philip.
Patterson was the first to fall, caught behind by Adam Gilchrist off Damien Fleming after a circumspect opening stand had fetched only 19 runs from nearly 11 overs.
Not surprisingly, runs were hard to come by for the neophytes as the innings unfolded, what with the well-rounded Australian attack that included seasoned ODI players such as Fleming, Glenn McGrath, and the leg-spin wizard Shane Warne.
Warne struck in the 18th over of the innings, having Mike Allingham stumped off a ripping leg-break. Philip, at 41 the oldest member of the team, managed to stay till the 23rd over.
But he failed to break the shackles, and perished to McGrath for a 66-ball 17, making the score 3/52.
Salmond joined Mike Smith at this point, and the pair put on 35 for the fourth wicket before the latter fell to Shane Lee in the 33rd over.
Salmond himself was accounted for a gritty 31 by his opposite number Steve Waugh, as his charge resulted in an outside edge to Gilchrist.
The score read 5/105 in the 38th over at this stage, and an acceleration was due. The 24-year-old Hamilton, who had come in at the fall of the fourth wicket, was joined by James Brinkley, and together they stitched the innings’ highest stand for the sixth wicket.
Hamilton and Brinkley gave the innings a much-needed push by adding 62 in 57 balls. Both were dismissed by Warne (3/39) in the 47th over – Brinkley holed out to Adam Dale at deep square leg for 23, while two balls later, Hamilton was bowled round his legs for a 42-ball 34.
However, Mr. Extras, tallying a generous 39, edged past Hamilton’s score and undoubtedly aided towards the eventual total of 7/181.
Lahore-born left-arm pacer Asim Butt provided Scotland with an encouraging start to the second innings, having the dangerous Gilchrist caught by Philip with only 17 on the board.
But thereafter, Mark Waugh and Ricky Ponting joined forces to steadily extinguish Scotland’s remote hopes of an upset. With the target modest, they took their time, consuming close to 22 overs for a second-wicket alliance of 84.
A running catch from Allingham at mid-wicket sent Ponting back for 33, off the bowling of promising 20-year-old medium-fast pacer John Blain.
In the very next over, Darren Lehmann was bowled by off-spinner Nick Dyer for a duck while trying to cut the ball, bringing some life into the contest.
Steve Waugh then joined his twin brother in the middle, and helped him realise 40 runs for the fourth wicket.
Mark Waugh was the fourth man out at 141 in the 36th over, caught by Dyer (2/43) off his own bowling.
He scored a watchful 67 from 114 balls, an effort that later gave him the Man of the Match award.
Steve Waugh remained unbeaten on 49 from 69 balls and, with Michael Bevan for company, steered Australia to 4/182 with 31 balls to spare. Butt, with 1/21 off ten overs, was Scotland’s most economical bowler.
Scotland ended the tournament without a win, and so far, have not tasted victory in 14 World Cup matches across three editions (1999, 2007 and 2015).
Hamilton was the standout Scottish batsman, logging 217 runs at 54.25 with two 50s.
He recorded a pair in his only Test for England, against South Africa at Johannesburg in 1999-00, and later returned to represent Scotland in ODIs from 2006 to 2010.