Christchurch, Feb 23: Riding on opening batsman Moeen Ali's cracking 128, an under-fire England notched up their first win in the ongoing cricket World Cup by crushing minnows Scotland by 119 runs in a Group A clash here today.
Sent into bat, England piled on a commanding 303 for 8, courtesy Ali's 107-ball 128 and his 172-run partnership with Ian Bell (54), the best opening stand so far in the tournament, and then bundled out Scotland for 184 in 42.2 overs to taste their first victory after being thrashed by Australia and New Zealand in their earlier matches.
Ali later chipped in with two wickets for 47 runs in his quota of 10 overs and, along with pacers Steven Finn (3/26), James Anderson (2/30) and Chris Woakes (2/25), rocked the Scotland run chase.
Chasing a stiff target of 304, Scotland made a disastrous start as they were reduced to 54 for 3 by the 12th over and lost wickets in quick succession twice in the middle overs to lose the plot and the match without any fight. In fact, Scotland were never a match of their southern neigbours whose slump in form in recent times has led to the talk of a possible upset.
In the end, it did not happen and Scotland, who gave a tough fight against tournament co-hosts New Zealand in their three-wicket loss opening match, slumped to their second consecutive defeat in the ongoing World Cup.
Opener Kyle Coetzer fought a lone battle for Scotland with a 84-ball 71 which included 11 boundaries but none of his batting colleagues rose to the occasion. Captain Preston Mommsen (26), Richie Berrington (23) and Majid Haq (15) were the only other batsmen, besides Coetzer, to reach double figure scores.
Scotland were sent into the backfoot immediately after the start of their run chase with James Anderson dismissing opener Calum MacLeod for four when the batsman unnecessarily went for an expansive shot to an outswinging delivery only to edge it to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.