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By Nick Mulvenney
SYDNEY, Feb 12 (Reuters) - West Indies’ preparations for the World Cup went from bad to worse on Thursday when minnows Scotland came up just four runs short of a famous upset in a warm-up match at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Although the islanders ultimately came up with the win by three runs, this was by no means an emphatic statement that might have reassured Caribbean cricket fans that all was well inside the camp.
Thrashed by England at the same ground in their first warm-up on Monday, the twice world champions needed a flurry of late wickets to restrict the Scots to 310 for nine in reply to the 313 for eight they posted in their 50 overs.
Opener Kyle Coetzer scored a fine 96 to fire the run-chase and Richie Berrington chipped in with 66 but the Scots could not quite find the partnership they needed at the bottom of the order to secure the victory.
“Obviously it’s quite frustrating to get that close, it was looking like we were going to get over the line there in those last couple of overs,” Berrington told reporters.
“But there’s a lot of positives to take out of that for us.”
Wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin top scored for West Indies with an 86-ball innings of 88 after many of the bigger names in the batting line-up failed to fire.
Their most potent batting weapon Chris Gayle, who was out for a duck against England, faced 12 balls for one solitary run before he was caught behind off Iain Wardlaw.
Dwayne Smith (45) and Darren Bravo (43) got starts but failed to convert, while vice captain Marlon Samuels departed for a fifth ball duck to leave the islanders lurching at 59-3.
It was left to wicketkeeper Ramdin, who has averaged a shade over 45 in one-dayers over the last year, to steady the innings in a fifth-wicket partnership of 117 with Lendl Simmons (55).
Darren Sammy (36 not out) and Andre Russell (24) then combined for a half century partnership in half as many balls -- highlighted by a huge Sammy six which clattered onto the roof of the Ladies Pavilion -- to bolster the tally.
West Indies start their World Cup campaign against Ireland in Nelson on Monday, while the Scots will take on co-hosts New Zealand in Dunedin in their opener the following day. (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)