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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Zimbabwe and Scotland tie 'unbelievable game' as both progress to World Cup Qualifier Super Six

Despite not playing on Monday and only having one win from four matches to their name, Afghanistan edged through to the next phase on run-rate

Scotland and Zimbabwe are both through to the Super Six stage of the World Cup Qualifier tournament. Courtesy ICC
Scotland and Zimbabwe are both through to the Super Six stage of the World Cup Qualifier tournament. Courtesy ICC

Zimbabwe maintained their 36-year unbeaten record in World Cup Qualifiers - but saw their winning streak finally ended after a thrilling tie with Scotland.

The host nation’s form in this event has had an uplifting effect on the country’s cricket supporters. Those fans have had to survive some nail-biting finishes, though.

Having beaten the tournament favourites Afghanistan by just two runs earlier in the group, the Zimbabweans left it even later to safeguard their unbeaten record against Scotland.

Scotland required just two runs to overhaul the home side’s total of 210, with two wickets still remaining in Bulawayo.

But two wickets in the space of three balls meant the scores finished level, and both sides advance through to the Super Six with three points.

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“It was an unbelievable game of cricket, in the end it went all the way to the death,” Richie Berrington, the Scotland batsman, said.

“Obviously, from our point of view it is disappointing to get in that position, so close and not get over the line, obviously though we will take a point from it.

“Losing a few wickets early, George [Munsey] and myself managed to get a partnership going but obviously disappointed not to go on a bit longer and see it through towards the end.”

Zimbabwe have won the Qualifier tournament three times in the past, which is more than any other side, but this is the first time since they were elevated to Test status that they have had to play in it. They topped Group B on run-rate, ahead of fellow undefeated side Scotland.

Despite not playing on Monday and only having one win from four matches to their name, Afghanistan edged through to the next phase on run-rate.

Hong Kong only needed to beat previously winless Nepal to make it through. Even though they only posted 153, after Nepal legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane took three for 17 from his 10 overs, Hong Kong were well-placed in defending their total.

They had Nepal 66 for five, including the prized wicket of captain Paras Khadka, but 15-year-old batsman Rohit Paudel hit an unbeaten 48 to marshal his side to a five-wicket win.

The results means Nepal, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and the Netherlands will now play classification matches, while the other six sides in the competition play for the two places on offer at the 2019 World Cup.

The two Asian sides, plus PNG, are vying for one-day international status, which will be granted to the top-ranked of the three sides.