Rain came to the rescue of the Windies, who qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 after defeating defending champions Scotland by five runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method in a Super Six fixture of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 at the Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.
Scotland, chasing 199 for a place in the World Cup, to be staged from 30 May to 14 July, were 125 for five in 35.2 overs when a heavy downpour prevented further play in the match. When play was called off, Scotland needed 74 runs in just over 14 overs.
While the result ended Scotland’s hopes of featuring in their second successive World Cup and fourth overall since 1999, Afghanistan and Ireland are now back in contention if rain affects Thursday’s match between the United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe. If there is no result, then net run-rate will determine the second qualifier behind the Windies.
In the Super Six winner-takes-all match, the Windies, put in to bat, lost Chris Gayle on the very first ball of the match, his seventh career golden duck, and then saw Shai Hope return to the pavilion 12 balls later to slip to two for two.
Evin Lewis (66, 87b, 7×4, 2×6) and Marlon Samuels (51, 98b, 4×4) revived the Windies’ innings by adding 121 runs for the third wicket in 168 balls. But, as the Windies looked set to post a decent score, Lewis departed and 12 runs later Samuels and Shimron Hetmyer also returned to the hut.
The Windies innings was wrapped up for 198 in 48.4 overs, with the last eight wickets falling for just 75 runs in close to 18 overs.
Scotland bowlers maintained a very discipline line and length as is evident from the fact that they delivered 174 dot balls and conceded just 12 fours and three sixes. The most impressive of the lot was 26-year-old Safyaan Sharif who picked up the prized scalps of Gayle, Hope and Rovman Powell conceding 27 runs.
Brad Wheal also rose to the occasion and bowled his heart out, to be rewarded with figures of three for 34, while off-spinner Michael Leask snapped up the wickets of Samuels and Hetmyer off successive deliveries to finish with two for 36.
The Windies needed quick wickets to not only qualify for the World Cup but also end Scotland’s dreams of featuring in the ICC’s pinnacle 50-over event for the second successive time and fourth since 1999.
And Kemar Roach obliged Jason Holder by accounting for the in-form Kyle Coetzer and Michael Jones, while the captain dismissed Matthew Cross as Scotland slipped to 25 for three.
The Windies, sniffing a win, continued to apply pressure and were eventually rewarded at the score of 67 in the third over when Ashley Nurse brilliantly caught Calum MacLeod (21) off his own bowling to end the 42-run resistance and then dismissed Berrington (33) was adjudged leg before as Scotland slipped to 105 for five.
George Munsey lived dangerously for his 32 not out and kept Scotland in the hunt for a place in the World Cup as they reached 125 for five, before Mother Nature smiled on the two-time former world champions as rain came down in force to end any chances of resumption.
The victory by five runs meant the Windies finished the Super Six with maximum eight points and not only qualified for the World Cup but also qualified for the 25 March final where they will meet the other qualifier.
For Scotland, it was a sad end to their World Cup aspirations despite being one of the most consistent sides in the tournament. They beat Afghanistan by seven wickets, Nepal by four wickets, tied with Zimbabwe and defeated the UAE by 73 runs, before losing a tight match to traditional rivals Ireland by 25 runs and by five runs to the Windies.
Scores in brief
Windies beat Scotland by five runs (Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method), Harare Sports Club
Windies 198 all out, 48.4 overs (Evin Lewis 66, Marlon Samuels 51, Carlos Brathwaite 24; Safyaan Sharif 3-27, Brad Wheal 3-34, Michael Leask 2-36)
Scotland 125-5, 35.2 overs (Richie Berrington 33, George Munsey 32 not out, Calum MacLeod 21; Kemar Roach 2-20, Ashley Nurse 2-35)
• Thursday, 22 March – UAE v Zimbabwe (S6), Harare Sports Club
• Friday, 23 March – Ireland v Afghanistan (S6), Harare Sports Club)
• Sunday, 25 March – Final; Harare Sports Club