West Indies saved by the rain against Scotland to book 2019 World Cup place
Caribbean nation edged out their opponents by five runs in a weather-reduced match in Harare
The West Indies had the rain to thank after defeating Scotland by five runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method at the Harare Sports Club yesterday to book their place at the 2019 cricket World Cup.
Chasing 199 to win and with it their own place at next summer's tournament, Scotland were 125-5 after 35.2 overs when heavy rain came and prevented any further play. When the match was called, Scotland required 74 runs in just over 14 overs, and with George Munsey (32 not out) settled at the crease, Scottish hopes for a victory would have been high.
West Indies may have started the match as clear favourites, but the two-time World Cup winners quickly found themselves 2-2 after Chris Gayle was removed with the first ball of the innings and Shai Hope soon followed.
Evin Lewis (66) and Marlon Samuels (51) combined to steady the West Indies innings, putting on 121 runs for the third wicket. However, once Lewis fell lbw to Brad Wheal, Samuels and Shimron Hetmyer (4) quickly departed to leave West Indies 135-5.
Carlos Brathwaite offered some lower order resistance with a 26-ball 24, but the West Indies innings was wrapped up inside 48.4 overs with the last eight wickets falling for just 75 runs.
Safyaan Sharif (3-27) and Wheal (3-34) were the pick of the Scotland bowlers, with Michael Leask chipping in with two wickets.
With a low total to defend, the West Indies knew taking early wickets would be vital to their chances of victory. And that is exactly what the Caribbean side did by removing both of Scotland's opening batsmen inside the first four overs. Captain Kyle Coetzer (2) was removed first by Kemar Roach, before West Indies skipper Jason Holder bowled Matthew Cross (4).
Scotland rallied as Calum MacLeod (21) and Richie Berrington (33) made encouraging starts, with Munsey guiding the Scots to 125-5 before the rain ended proceedings.
Victory for the West Indies ensured the ultimate prize of a place at next year's World Cup, but captain Holder insists his players are focused on Sunday's World Cup Qualifier final.
"I'm extremely pleased," Holder said. "The guys put up their hands in every game, and every single game was pressure for us. Scotland have played some very good cricket, I can imagine how they're feeling.
"My mind hasn't gone to the World Cup just yet. We want to win this tournament, but we must thank the fans in the Caribbean. Our true fans stuck in with us. We're thinking about the final."
With the West Indies claiming one World Cup spot, Afghanistan, Ireland and Qualifier hosts Zimbabwe are all vying for the other remaining space.
Zimbabwe take on the UAE on Thursday knowing victory will be enough to clinch second place. Afghanistan and Ireland, who face each other on Friday, will therefore be hoping for a UAE win to keep their respective World Cup hopes alive.
Updated: March 21, 2018 08:25 PM