ICC Men’s T20 World Cup
Venue: United Arab Emirates & Oman Dates: 17 October – 14 November
Coverage: Commentary on every game on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. Text commentary, in-play clips and video highlights from 23 October on BBC Sport website and app.

It’s not often these days that Scotland feature in the main draw of a World Cup in one of the world’s most popular sports.

But the Scotland cricket team will be doing just that on Monday, when they take on Afghanistan in the Super 12s section of the T20 World Cup.

Given the playing pool and budget at Scottish Cricket, reaching this stage is no mean feat and they are now aiming to take some significant scalps.

Here’s why you should be excited to follow their progress.

What’s happened so far?

Scotland stormed to the second round with surprising ease given their world ranking of 14 coming into the competition.

They upset Bangladesh, the world’s sixth-best nation, with a six-run victory in their opener to record arguably the country’s greatest ever win in the sport, given the tournament setting.

The Scots had only managed one World Cup win before, in 2016 against Hong Kong.

Solid wins against less-storied cricket nations Papua New Guinea – which included a first T20 World Cup half century by Richie Berrington – and hosts Oman followed to put Shane Burger’s side into the Super 12s for the first time ever.

What’s to come?

Scotland are now in a group of six teams including three of the top four-ranked sides in the world – India, Pakistan, and New Zealand. Afghanistan and Namibia – the latter the only side ranked lower than Scotland -make up the section.

The teams will all face each other with the top two joining their counterparts from the other group in the semi-finals.

Scotland have the chance to get two wins on the board early, as they open against Afghanistan on Monday, followed by Namibia on Wednesday.

Then they have a week off, and finish with very tough assignments against New Zealand (3 November), India (5 November) and Pakistan (7 November).

“I’m pretty sure we will compete at the highest level if we play well,” said bowler Safyaan Sarif.

“It will be challenging for us. It’s fantastic to see cricket growing back home, seeing ourselves in newspapers everywhere. It’s quite amazing.”

Why is it important?

Scotland are an Associate member of the International Cricket Council, which means they don’t have rights to play Test cricket, or have full voting rights on the sports’ governance.

“Being a full [Test] member is something we really want to achieve, we’re already acting like we are,” head coach Burger said shortly after taking charge in 2019.

Ireland and Afghanistan were the last nations to be given full member status back in 2017, and the key to that was regularly beating Test nations in the shorter formats. New nations are not regularly accepted.

Victories against some of the world’s leading countries will help Scotland on that journey, which in turn would bring in more money to the game. Reaching the Super 12s also means a guaranteed place at the next T20 World Cup.

It’s also a fantastic stage for players, some of whom do not have a full-time professional contracts. Chris Greaves, match-winner against Bangladesh, was delivering parcels for Amazon just a few months ago.

And for players who do have a central contracts with Scotland, the World Cup is the chance for them to earn more lucrative stints in tournaments across the globe. All of this helps boost the sport, which struggles for investment and attention in a football-obsessed nation.

“To leave a legacy of being the first Scottish side to do that is certainly a motivation,” said Burger.

“It’s amazing, the ability sport has to pull a nation together, to allow people to dream and that’s something I’ve mentioned to this group: we’re allowed to dream, we’re allowed to go out and do unrealistic things.”

How can I follow the action?

There will be live commentary of all of Scotland’s remaining matches on BBC Radio 5Live, as well as live text updates on the BBC Sport website.

And if that’s not enough, there will also be in-play clips so you miss none of the drama on Scotland’s march to – eh – the final?

Flower of Scotland interrupts Bangladesh captain