Lucky Windies escape with World Cup spot
HARARE, Zimbabwe, (CMC):
West Indies sneaked into next year's World Cup in England, but just barely as heavy rain coupled with a controversial umpiring decision helped them beat Scotland by five runs under Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) 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 a paltry 198 in the penultimate over at Harare Sports Club, leaving themselves with 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 stroke-maker 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 (3-27) and Brad Wheal (3-34) were brilliant, both claiming three wickets apiece to wreck the Windies innings.
In reply, the Scots were reeling at 25 for three in the seventh over before recovering through the efforts of Richie Berrington, who struck 33, and George Munsey, who gathered 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.
What was believed to be a passing shower turned into a persistent heavy rain, forcing 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 in this tournament."