HARARE, March 21, (AFP): The West Indies snatched a spot at next year’s World Cup by edging to a five-run victory over Scotland on DLS method in Harare on Wednesday. The two-time World Cup winners were bowled out for just 198 batting first, but rain forced an early finish with the game in the balance and Scotland on 125-5 with 14.4 overs remaining.
Jason Holder’s Windies claimed the penultimate place for the tournament in England and Wales, with Scotland knocked out of contention.
“I’m extremely pleased to get through to the World Cup. We’ve been through a lot in the last two years,” said captain Holder.
“We had to play to expectation — there was pressure in every game and the guys really put their hands up. I’m really pleased to get over the line but my thoughts go out to Scotland for how they’ve played in this tournament.”
With no reserve days in the crucial qualifying tournament, Scotland were left agonisingly short of a massive upset.
Former Scotland captains Craig Wright and Preston Mommsen lashed out at the ICC after the match on Twitter, highlighting the decision to cut the World Cup to only 10 teams.
“Feel absolutely sick for everyone @CricketScotland, players, support staff, administration & supporters,” wrote Wright.
“It’s all been said before, but this tournament has highlighted (again) so much that is wrong with the management, structure & priorities of world cricket @ICC #notgoodenough.”
Mommsen pointed out the ICC’s ‘value’ of “commitment to the global game”, saying: “@ICC I think you need to re-address your ‘values’ below, particularly your final point. Your actions as a governing body are so misaligned with this it’s frightening.”
A controversial lbw decision also proved key as Richie Berrington fell to Windies spinner Ashley Nurse for 33, with no DRS in place for the qualifiers.
Had the rain come with Scotland on the same score but four wickets down, they would have qualified instead.
“There are a couple of decisions that have hurt us in the last two games and obviously another one didn’t go our way today,” said Scotland skipper Kyle Coetzer.
Earlier, the underdogs had a dream start to the winner-takes-all clash, with Safyaan Sharif dismissing star West Indies opener Chris Gayle with the first ball of the match.
Sharif and Bradley Wheal each finished with three wickets, as Scotland restricted their opponents to under 200 despite 66 from Evin Lewis and a gritty half-century by Marlon Samuels.
The Scots rebuilt after being reduced to 25-3 as Kemar Roach claimed two early wickets, but were left high and dry by Berrington’s dismissal and the rain.
Zimbabwe will claim the final place at the reduced 10-team World Cup if they beat the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.
Scores from 2019 World Cup qualifying in Zimbabwe on Wednesday:
P W T L P NRR
West Indies 5 4 0 1 8 +0.436 — qualified
Zimbabwe 4 2 1 1 5 +0.520
Scotland 5 2 1 2 5 +0.249 — eliminated
Ireland 4 2 0 2 4 +0.474
Afghanistan 4 2 0 2 4 +0.343
UAE 4 0 0 4 0 -2.381 — eliminated
Top two teams qualify for 2019 World Cup in England and Wales
Note: (games played, won, tied, lost, points, net run rate)