Cricket: Scotland look to make their mark in World Cup

Scotland cricket captain Preston Mommsen speaks at a press conference in Sydney on February 8, 2015, ahead of the 2015 Cricket World Cup which will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29.

SYDNEY - Scotland skipper Preston Mommsen said Sunday he was confident his team would make their mark in the upcoming World Cup, calling them the best-prepared Scottish team ever at the mega-event.

The International Cricket Council's Associate team have not won a single match in their two previous World Cup appearance in 1999 and 2007. But Durban-born Mommsen, 27, said they would try to win every game.

"I think we are the best prepared Scotland team that's left the country, there's no doubt about that, and we're looking to make a mark on this world stage," said Mommsen, whose team will play in Group A of the 14-team event.

They face a daunting opening game against co-hosts New Zealand at Dunedin on February 17 before meeting England in Christchurch on February 23.

Mommsen believes his team is under pressure to do well.

"Obviously for us there is the next stage: coming to a world tournament and being put under a lot of pressure to perform. We view it as a crossroads. We are very excited about the next few years. There's some real quality in the 15 and hopefully we'll deliver," he said.

Ireland's performance has shown that associate teams deserve a place in the big league, he said.

"There's been a lot of talk about associate teams (playing in the World Cup) and whether or not they deserve a place. My view is it's a World Cup and of course they deserve a place.

"At the same time, we have to put performances in. We're not here to fill in the numbers. We take a lot of inspiration from what Ireland have done at previous World Cups. They found a way to stand up to the big teams and we'll be looking to do the same thing." Ireland shocked Pakistan to enter the second round of the 2007 event in the West Indies and then beat England in the World Cup four years later in the subcontinent.

Mommsen said smaller teams like Scotland need more exposure.

"There's no question that we need to be exposed to more one-day cricket. If you compare our build-up to this tournament with the likes of South Africa, New Zealand, Australia or England, the number of one day internationals they've played compared to the number we've played against full-member nations, you can't compare it.

"So in terms of a level playing field, I'm not sure that was quite level in the preparation we've been given. But we have to deal with that and we're doing our best to be best prepared for that first game against New Zealand." Mommsen said Scotland fancy their chances against fellow associates Afghanistan as well as full-member minnows Bangladesh in the first round of the tournament, which starts on February 14.

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