Zimbabwe’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup 2023 were shattered as Scotland clinched an all important victory, pushing them further away from their dream, in the Cricket World Cup Qualifier at the Queens Sports Club on Tuesday. After an unbeaten run in the Super Six stage, Zimbabwe suffered consecutive defeats to Sri Lanka and Scotland, putting an end to their World Cup aspirations.
Scotland’s Chris Sole delivered a fiery opening spell, propelling his team into a commanding position after their batters had managed to post a competitive total on the board. Sole struck early, dismissing opener Joylord Gumbie off the very first ball, followed by the crucial wicket of captain Craig Ervine, leaving Zimbabwe reeling at 2/2 within the first three overs.
Zimbabwe’s batting lineup faltered once again as the in-form Sean Williams was bowled by Sole in the seventh over, with the team’s score still below 30, solidifying Scotland’s dominance. Although Scotland missed a catching opportunity, they made up for it by taking wickets at crucial moments, with Innocent Kaia departing for a score of 12.
However, a partnership between Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl revived Zimbabwe’s hopes. They laid the foundation for a significant stand to bring their team back into the game. But Chris Greaves redeemed himself for the missed catch by dismissing Raza, breaking the pivotal partnership. Burl continued his onslaught, reaching his well-deserved fifty, with Wessly Madhevere providing valuable support.
Scotland fought back when Mark Watt trapped Madhevere in front of the stumps for 40 runs in the 31st over. Burl continued to attack Scotland’s bowlers, while Wellington Masakadza held the other end. However, when Masakadza was dismissed by McMullen, Scotland saw an opportunity to target the tail-enders. Burl unleashed a flurry of boundaries before his impressive knock of 83 off 84 deliveries came to an end.
Safyaan Sharif wrapped up Zimbabwe’s innings, securing a 31-run victory for Scotland and catapulting them above Zimbabwe in the points table. This win boosts Scotland’s World Cup hopes, as the upcoming match against the Netherlands becomes a virtual eliminator, with the winner securing a spot alongside Sri Lanka for the Cricket World Cup 2023.
In the first innings, Scotland got off to a promising start with half-century partnerships between Christopher McBride, Matthew Cross, and Brandon McMullen. However, Zimbabwe’s Sean Williams turned the tide with a sensational bowling performance, taking crucial wickets and halting Scotland’s progress. Williams’s precision and variations troubled the Scottish batsmen, resulting in a collapse from 102/1 to 118/4.
Richard Ngarava further dented Scotland’s batting lineup with a yorker that dismantled George Munsey’s stumps. Despite some late hitting from Michael Leask, Zimbabwe’s bowlers managed to restrict Scotland to 234/8 in their allotted 50 overs.