West Indies fail to qualify for Cricket World Cup for the 1st Time

Harare, Sports Bureau: Two-time winners West Indies have been eliminated from the race to qualify for the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup after suffering an embarrassing seven-wicket defeat to Scotland in the Super Six stage of the ongoing qualifiers tournament at the Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

West Indies were the champions of the first two editions of the World Cup in 1975 and 1979 and finished runners-up to India in 1983. The 13th edition of the ODI World Cup, to be held from October 5 to November 19 in India, will be the first tournament to be played without the West Indies.

The loss to Scotland means West Indies won’t be among the two teams to qualify for this year’s ODI World Cup. The saddening setback is a continuation of West Indies’ decline in ICC tournaments, coming after not making it to the Super 12 stage of the 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, after winning just one out of three games in the group stage at Hobart.

West Indies came into the Super Six stage with a very slim possibility of finishing in the top two and qualifying for the ODI World Cup. Losing to Zimbabwe and Netherlands in the group stage meant they carried forward no points into the Super Six and were required to win all three of their games to have an outside chance for qualification.

In a must-win game against Scotland, a shoddy batting performance meant West Indies were bowled out for just 181. The target of 182 wasn’t enough to trouble Scotland, who chased down the total with 39 balls to spare.

Matthew Cross and Brandon McMullen smashed fifties each while sharing a match-winning 125-run stand for Scotland to keep their chances of qualifying for the main event alive, as West Indies touched the absolute rock bottom in the history of their existence in cricket.

Scotland’s new-ball pair of McMullen and Chris Sole rattled the West Indies lineup in the first 10 overs. McMullen brought the first three dismissals — Johnson Charles fell while trying to go over the covers, Shamarh Brooks edged one to slips after going at one with heavy hands and Brandon King spooned a simple catch back to the medium pacer.

Sole increased the misery for West Indies when he uprooted Kyle Mayers’ off-stump in the seventh over to leave the side at 30/4, followed by captain Shai Hope being caught behind off Safyaan Sharif in the 13th over, and Nicholas Pooran holing to deep mid-wicket off Mark Watt in the 21st over.

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The recovery finally came from the hands of Jason Holder and Romario Shepherd, who added 77 runs for the seventh-wicket stand. The duo helped the West Indies cross the 150-run mark in the 35th over.

Their stand came to an end in the 37th over when Sharif pulled off a one-handed blinder at the backward point off Watt to get Shepherd (36) out. Holder (45) fell lbw in the very next over against Chris Greaves as West Indies were eventually bowled out in the 44th over.

In reply, Scotland lost a wicket off the very first ball, when Christopher McBride hit a low full toss from Holder to mid-wicket. Cross and McMullen easily rebuilt the innings by adding 40 runs in the first 10 overs.

Though the West Indies bowling was disciplined, they were unable to break the Cross-McMullen partnership. Their only chance came when McMullen hit one straight off Akeal Hosein to the mid-wicket in the 12th over, but Kyle Mayers spilt the chance.

McMullen, who was the pick of Scotland bowlers with his 3-32, also got to his fifty in the 25th over. Cross upped the ante by hitting a hat-trick of boundaries against Kevin Sinclair in the 27th over to reach the 40s, before bringing up his half-century in the 29th over.

Scotland continued to be steady despite the loss of McMullen (69) in the 30th over. In the overs 26-35, they added 56 runs to overhaul the target. Cross (74 not out) had captain Richie Berrington (13 not out) by his side when Scotland eventually got over the line.

Brief scores: 

West Indies 181 in 43.5 overs (Jason Holder 45, Romario Shepherd 36; Brandon McMullen 3-32, Mark Watt 2-25) lost to Scotland 185/3 in 43.3 overs (Matthew Cross 74 not out, Brandon McMullen 69; Akeal Hosein 1-26, Romario Shepherd 1-28) by seven wicket (IANS)

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