Brad Wheal believes Scotland can take confidence from win over England

Brad Wheal feels Scotland can draw inspiration from their famous ODI victory over England six years ago ahead of their historic T20 World Cup showdown in Barbados.

The sporting rivalry between the two neighbouring countries resumes on Tuesday with their first ever meeting in T20s and Scotland hopeful of springing another almighty upset over the world champions.

Wheal had to sit out the most remarkable day in Scottish cricket history in 2018 because a stress fracture in his back was detected just a couple of days before the high-scoring Edinburgh epic.

But with several players from both sides who featured in Scotland’s six-run win likely to be involved at Bridgetown’s Kensington Oval in their Group B opener, Wheal is sure his nation will not be overawed.

“If anything that just proves to the guys that played in that game, and the ones that didn’t, that going into this fixture, we’re no laughing matter,” the Hampshire seamer told the PA news agency.

“We can definitely go in there and hopefully turn over one of the best T20 teams in the world.

“The expectation is definitely there, it’s obviously not going to be a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination and everyone understands that.

“But it definitely brings some confidence in knowing that Scotland have beaten England before, obviously not in a T20. But beating them at a World Cup would be pretty special.”

While bilateral fixtures against top-tier opposition are difficult to come by, Scotland have packed a punch on the global stage with wins over Bangladesh and the West Indies at the last two T20 World Cups.

They missed out on last year’s 50-over World Cup due to net run-rate at the qualifier but Wheal, who will be counted on to deliver new-ball wickets in the Caribbean, feels Scotland are still on the up.

“Everyone knows what we can do, the team is good enough and we’ve shown that in the past, beating some big teams,” Wheal – whose side also face Namibia, Oman and Australia in their group – said.

“Guys will definitely draw from those memories but there’s an expectation now that we are meant to compete with these guys and they won’t be walkover games by any stretch of the imagination – they’re definitely fixtures that we expect to be competing and potentially winning.

“Our guys have also got a point to prove as we’ve not had a huge amount of cricket over the last couple of years.

“This is an opportunity for guys to put their hands up and show the world we can challenge any international squad. Hopefully more fixtures come off the back of it if we impress some people.”

Wheal’s Scotland commitments mean he will miss the first rounds of the Vitality Blast, having sat out much of the 2023 summer because of a third stress fracture of his back – a common affliction for pacemen.

Remembering how instrumental he was to Hampshire’s 2022 triumph, taking 22 wickets in 13 matches, as well as the hope of featuring in future editions with the Utilita Bowl club kept Wheal’s spirits up in the low moments.

“You can feel quite disconnected from the rest of the group when you’re not involved in playing cricket with the guys and travelling like we’re used to,” the 27-year-old added.

“When we won the T20 Blast in 2022, those are memories I’ll cherish for the rest of my life and keep me going when you’re in those dark times.

“We’ve got a great group of players so we feel like we can still definitely compete and hopefully be there for another Finals Day.”