THE celebrations in the Scotland dressing room after beating Ireland on Wednesday were raucous but ultimately brief. That explosion of joy and relief around the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo following the dramatic denouement of a contest that ebbed and flowed throughout was wholly understandable, with grins spreading from ear to ear after Michael Leask’s batting heroics helped seal a dramatic last-ball, one-wicket win.

The games come thick and fast at this World Cup qualifying event, however, and ultimately that precious victory over the Irish will count for little if Scotland don’t back it up by making it into the Super Six stage and then to the World Cup itself. There is little scope for taking a breath or for nursing hangovers. Doug Watson’s side are back in action this morning against a UAE side who have lost their opening two matches. Nothing less than a Scottish victory will suffice.

“There’s massive pressure on this tournament with some big teams here,” said batter George Munsey. “It’s almost like knockout cricket. You’ve got to win to take as many points as possible through to the Super 6 stage. So every game is a must-win.

“There’s huge pressure on the line for all the teams. It’s something that we’re used to, especially in the Associate cricket world. Every game that we play is super important, either financially or for points like in World Cricket League 2, for example. That’s something we’re very used to. We just have to do our processes well.”

Scottish confidence will be high both with the way they finished against Ireland and with the way they began, taking four early wickets. It was far from perfect, however, with some sloppy bowling, missed catches and batting struggles in there too, and Munsey knows they can still play a lot better.

“In tournament cricket we just want to get over the line no matter how we do it,” he added. “There are lots of positives to take from the Ireland game but also plenty to work on which is really exciting.

“Just bouncing off the way Michael Leask played in that first game is something we’re going to look to use to our advantage moving into the UAE game. But at the same time, it’s a different ground and conditions will be different so we’ll need to have to rock up in the morning and create our best plan for the day.

“It’s tournament cricket, it’s tough. Every game is going to be a really tough challenge. UAE have a lot of good players and we’ve played a lot of cricket against them. We know what to expect from them. But at the same time, I really back our squad. If we turn up on the day and have our number one gameplan on show we can beat anyone.”

With winter dew a factor early in the Zimbabwean morning, most teams winning the toss have been electing to bowl and reaping the benefits. Scotland’s strength has traditionally been in its batting but Munsey reckons they need to take all factors into account.

“[Bowling first against Ireland] was just the call we felt was best on the day,” he explained. “Teams have to get to the ground on the day and then put together your best plan. You can look too much into what you’re best at and then miss out, especially with these conditions. Starting at 9am can make it tricky if there’s a little dew about as there was the other day.

“It was a very good wicket and our bowlers bowled very well up top. Brandon [McMullen], to take his first five-for, and the way Chris Sole and Saf [Sharif] started as well, it was a very good bowling performance. The wicket did a little bit but it wasn’t massive, there was more movement in the air than anything else. It was a very good pitch and once the batters got in it looked quite tough to bowl at.”