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01-Jul-2023 14:46:00 GMT
2023 ICC World Cup Qualifier

Scotland crush West Indies ends World Cup hopes

Scotland 185 for 3 (Cross 74*, McMullen 69) beat West Indies 181 (Holder 45, McMullen 3-32, Watt 2-25) by seven wickets

Harare: Scotland staged a major upset in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers on Saturday, defeating twice World Champions West Indies in a Super Six clash by 7 wickets.

The once cricketing giants not only slipped to a new low with the loss but also failed to ensure qualification for the ODI World Cup, which is set to be hosted by India later this year.

The defeat marks the first time since 1975 that Caribbeans failed to seal World Cup qualification.

Scotland shone with both bat and ball at Harare, producing a remarkable performance to crush the qualification hopes of the Caribbeans

This result ensures that West Indies, who were crowned champions of the world in 1975 and 1979, can, at best, finish with only four points in the Super Six stage of the tournament.

The Men in Maroon can no longer be among the top-two finishers in the Qualifiers, who will automatically seal places for the main event.

Scotland's emphatic win was driven by exceptional display from their bowlers and a 125-run stand between Matthew Cross and Brandon McMullen.

Chasing 182, Scotland lost a wicket off the very first ball, when Christopher McBride hit a low full toss from Holder to the mid-wicket. Any hopes of further breakthroughs were put to rest by Cross and McMullen as their steady stand yielded 40 runs in the powerplay overs.

Though the West Indies bowling remained disciplined, they were unable to break the Cross-McMullen partnership. Their only chance came when McMullen hit one straight off Akeal Hosein to the mid-wicket in the 12th over, but Kyle Mayers spilled the take.

The duo had ensured that Scotland needed just 3.52 runs an over in the second half of their chase.

McMullen also got to his fifty in the 25th over.

The Scotland scoring rate picked up soon after, as both Cross and McMullen went for quick runs.

Cross hit a hat-trick of boundaries against Sinclair in the 27th over to reach the 40s, before bringing up his half-century in the 29th over.

Scotland was steady despite the loss McMullen (69 in 106 balls, with eight fours and a six) in the 30th over.

Cross (74* in 107 balls, with seven fours) had captain Richie Berrington (13*) by his side, when Scotland eventually overhauled the West Indies target in the 44th over.

Jason Holder, Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein took a wicket each for WI.

In the morning, Scotland's new-ball pair of Chris Sole and Brandon McMullen rattled the West Indies lineup in the first Powerplay.

McMullen brought the first three dismissals, Johnson Charles fell while trying to go over the covers, Shamarh Brooks edged one to slips after going at one with heavy hands and Brandon King (22) spooned a simple catch back to the medium pacer.

Brooks and Johnson were dismissed for ducks. The West Indian turmoil was exacerbated when Sole uprooted Kyle Mayers' (5) off-stump in the seventh over to leave the side at 30/4.

Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran, the top two run-getters for West Indies in the Qualifier, were left to shoulder the responsibility of a rebuild.

Windies would have hoped that the duo would repeat their performance from the Nepal game, where they had added 216 runs for the fourth wicket to salvage the innings.

However, there was to be no rescuing act today, as Hope was caught behind off Safyaan Sharif for just 13.

Scotland was in complete control of the innings after Pooran fell to Mark Watt in the 21st over for 21.

The southpaw tried to swipe the slow left-arm orthodox spinner out of the ground, but managed to hit it towards the deep mid-wicket, where the ball juggled in and out of Christopher McBride's hands before he managed to hold on to it.

The recovery finally came from the hands of former captain Holder and Shepherd, who added 77 runs for the seventh-wicket stand. They made batting look easy and helped the West Indies cross the 150-run mark in the 35th over.

With their presence, the team could have dreamt of a total in the range of 270-280.

However, the stand came to an end in the 37th over when Sharif pulled off a one-handed blinder at the backward point off Watt to get Shepherd (36 in 43 balls with five fours).

Holder (45 in 79 balls with three fours and a six) fell lbw in the very next over to give another blow to the West Indies.

West Indies were eventually bowled out in the 44th over.

McMullen was the pick of Scotland bowlers with his 3/32.

Chris Sole and Mark Watt took two wickets too. Earlier, Scotland skipper Richie Berrington called it right at the toss and elected to field. He opined that the pitch would remain good for the entire day, and defending would be a tough ask on this ground.

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