West Indies beat Scotland by five runs (DLS) in the ICC World Cup qualifiers Super Sixes match at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday to qualify for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Opting to bowl after winning the toss, Scotland struck early as Chris Gayle departed for a first-ball duck. West Indies were two down in the first three overs as the Scottish bowling department looked in fine form. However, Marlon Samuels (51) and Evin Lewis (66) steadied the West Indies innings, stitching together a 121-run partnership. The partnership was broken by Bradley Wheal in the 30th over. Following which, Windies continued to lose wickets at regular intervals and were bowled out for 198 in 48.4 overs.
In reply, Scotland lost Kyle Coetzer, Matthew Cross early in pursuit of 199. Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, Scotland kept the required run-rate in check by taking singles and doubles and kept the scoreboard ticking. The partnership between Calum MacLeod and Richie Berrington seemed threatening as they were settled in the middle and were timing the ball well, negating the West Indies' bowlers' chance to take wickets.
However, Ashley Nurse caught a brilliant catch off his own bowling to dismiss MacLeod, which gave the Windies a fighting chance. The Jason Holder-led team's chances doubled when Nurse struck again to send another set batsman, Richie Brrington, back in the hut for 32.
Geroge Munsey played his heart out, scoring 32 off 52 balls, and tried his best to take his team over the victory line. However, rain played spoil sport as the game was stopped in the 36th over, declaring West Indies the winner as they were ahead by 5 runs on Duckworth-Lewis par score.
Soon Scotland's dream of qualifying for the 2019 mega-event was crushed as the umpire's called off the match due to incessant rain, which led the Windies to qualify for the mega-event.
Talking about the match, West Indies captain Jason Holder said, "Extremely pleased. We've been a through a lot in the last couple of years - hasn't been easy. I think the guys really put up their hands in every single game. The pressure was there in all games. Really pleased to get over the line. Scotland played really good cricket this tournament. Must feel for them. We really want to win this tournament. I thank the Caribbean people for the support throughout. Our true fans stuck with us. We have one more game to play here. We should be thinking about that."
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! We Are In! Windies will be at the 2019 World Cup! pic.twitter.com/QckKLweNxr— CricketWestIndies (@westindies) March 21, 2018
With the qualifying done and dusted, West Indies will look to improve their fielding that let them down in the match against Scotland. Poor, lazy and lack of concentration during fielding is one of the many areas that the team need to address, not forgetting the two dropped chances -- one in the slips and the other one by the keeper.
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.