West Indies’ World Cup dreams were crushed as Scotland pulled off a stunning seven-wicket win in a Super Six match of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers. For the first time in the history of the tournament, the two-time champions West Indies will not be among the top 10 teams in limited-overs cricket, marking a significant departure from their victorious past in the 1975 and 1979 editions.
The defeat represents a significant setback for the once cricketing giants, as it marks the first time since 1975 that the Caribbeans have been unable to seal World Cup qualification. The match, held at Harare, witnessed Scotland exhibiting an exceptional performance with both bat and ball, effectively crushing West Indies’ hopes of progressing to the main event.
West Indies, who had been crowned champions of the world in 1975 and 1979, can now, at best, finish with only four points in the Super Six stage of the tournament. Unfortunately for the Men in Maroon, they will no longer be among the top-two finishers in the Qualifiers, who secure automatic berths for the main event.
Scotland’s win was a result of their outstanding display from both the bowlers and batsmen. The partnership of Matthew Cross and Brandon McMullen proved pivotal, as they amassed a formidable 125-run stand. Chasing a target of 182, Scotland encountered an early setback when Christopher McBride fell to the very first ball. However, Cross and McMullen showcased resilience and composure, steadily building their partnership and ensuring that Scotland required only 3.52 runs per over during the latter half of their chase. McMullen also reached his fifty in the 25th over, providing a solid foundation for their victory.
The scoring rate for Scotland escalated as Cross and McMullen accelerated their run-scoring. Cross, in particular, displayed his prowess with a hat-trick of boundaries in the 27th over and ultimately reached his half-century in the 29th over. Although McMullen departed in the 30th over after scoring 69 runs off 106 balls, Cross remained unbeaten on 74 as Scotland comfortably surpassed the West Indies’ target in the 44th over. Captain Richie Berrington contributed an unbeaten 13 runs to secure the victory.
In the morning session, Scotland’s opening bowlers, Chris Sole and Brandon McMullen, wreaked havoc on the West Indies lineup during the first Powerplay. McMullen accounted for the first three dismissals, with Johnson Charles, Shamarh Brooks, and Brandon King falling victim to his skillful bowling. Kyle Mayers’ stumps were uprooted by Sole, leaving West Indies reeling at 30/4.
Hopes for a West Indian revival rested on the shoulders of Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran, the team’s top run-getters in the Qualifiers. However, their partnership failed to materialize, as Hope was caught behind off Safyaan Sharif after contributing just 13 runs. Pooran’s dismissal in the 21st over, caught by Christopher McBride off Mark Watt’s bowling, further dented West Indies’ hopes, reducing them to 81/6.
Former captain Jason Holder and Romario Shepherd provided a glimmer of hope with a resilient seventh-wicket partnership of 77 runs. Their batting prowess propelled West Indies past the 150-run mark in the 35th over, raising aspirations of a substantial total. However, their partnership was cut short in the 37th over when Shepherd fell victim to an exceptional catch by Sharif at backward point. Holder departed in the subsequent over, resulting in another setback for
West Indies. Eventually, West Indies were bowled out in the 44th over, with McMullen’s outstanding bowling figures of 3/32 leading the charge for Scotland.
Scotland’s captain, Richie Berrington, won the toss and elected to field, acknowledging the favorable pitch conditions that were expected to persist throughout the day. Berrington’s decision paid dividends, as his team executed their plans superbly, eventually clinching a memorable win over the mighty West Indies.