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WI squeak into 2019 World Cup


WI squeak into 2019 World Cup

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HARARE – The West Indies have squeaked into next year’s World Cup in England.

 Heavy rain and a controversial umpiring decision helped them beat Scotland by five runs under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method, and stage a great escape in their final Super Six match of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers yesterday.

Faced with their second must-win match in three days, West Indies were bundled out for 198 in the penultimate over at Harare Sports Club, leaving themselves a mountain to climb to secure one of the two World Cup places up for grabs.

Opener Evin Lewis top-scored with 66 and veteran batsman Marlon Samuels struck 51, but the two-time former World champions collapsed from 123 for two in the 31st over and lost their last eight wickets for 75 runs.

New-ball bowlers Safyaan Sharif (three for 27) and Brad Wheal (three for 34) were brilliant, as they wrecked the innings.

In reply, the Scots were reeling at 25 for three in the seventh over before recovering thanks to Richie Berrington, who made 33, and George Munsey, an unbeaten 32.

The game was still open when the rains arrived with Scotland on 125 for five in the 36th over, five runs adrift of the DLS par score of 130.

A persistent heavy rain forced officials to abandon play an hour later, breaking Scotland’s hearts but providing a flood of relief for the Windies.

“I’m extremely pleased to get through to the World Cup. We’ve been through a lot in the last two years,” captain Jason Holder said afterwards.

“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.”

Sent in, West Indies had the worst possible start when opener Chris Gayle was caught behind off the first ball, edging a peach of an away-swinger from Sharif.

Shai Hope wafted at a widish one from Sharif in the third over and also nicked a catch behind. However, Lewis and Samuels combined in a 121-run third-wicket stand which stabilised the innings.

Lewis faced 87 deliveries and struck seven fours and a pair of sixes, while Samuels counted four fours in a 98-ball stay.

Earlier, Berrington came to his side’s rescue, adding a crucial 42 for the fourth wicket with Calum MacLeod (21) and 38 for the fifth wicket with Munsey.

With rain looming, Nurse earned a fortuitous lbw decision against the entrenched Berrington, after the right-hander played back and missed one which would have clearly slid past leg stump.

The dismissal put DLS in the Windies’ favour and even though Scotland tried to up their scoring, the rains arrived before they could improve their maths. (CMC)