The West Indies have made it through to the next stage of World Cup qualifying, despite falling to defeat in their latest match against Zimbabwe.
In a game where they were favourites to win, and for large parts of it looked comfortable, they managed to hand the hosts a route back into the match and eventually seal an unlikely victory, which gives them a massive advantage, as they both move into the “Super Six” knock out.
The two points won will be carried over, giving Zimbabwe a vital head start in the race for a top two position and the golden ticket to the World Cup Finals in India, to be played later this year.
West Indies now move on to face the Netherlands – who have also made it through – in what is a game of huge significance, as they both will be desperate for the extra two points to take forward.
The Zimbabwean’s were put in on what looked a decent batting track, but one with some genuine early movement for the seam bowlers. Alzarri Joseph and Jason Holder ensured that the openers played cautiously, and at the midway stage of their innings the hosts were 112-4.
Even half centuries from Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl in the middle order never really threatened to release the West Indies grip on things, although it should have been even better as once again several catches were put down. Nevertheless, a final score of 268 appeared to be 30 or 40 short of a competitive total.
Brandon King and Kyle Mayers got the reply off to a flyer, putting on 43 in just six overs and entering the last 20 overs, they needed less than 100, with six wickets intact.
A boisterous home crowd were not however, in the mood to throw in the towel and their raucousness seemed to lift their side, even when Roston Chase was smashing balls over the ropes.
Just 52 were required from the final 10 overs, with still four wickets remaining and victory within touching distance.
Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory
Then in the space of three overs the West Indies imploded, losing three wickets for 7 runs and suddenly after chasing control all match, Zimbabwe became favourites. A position of dominance had become desperation and the final wicket fell with the score on 233, to hand the hosts the win both sides were craving, with over 5 overs to spare.
Skipper’s honest assessment
Captain Shai Hope was honest in his post-match assessment, admitting that once again their fielding let them down and stating that the batting was not “up to the mark.”
Huge importance on Netherlands game
If the West Indies miss out on one of the two places for India, their thoughts will probably return to this match and wonder how they contrived to lose, as it was certainly the game that got away.
Monday’s fixture with the Netherlands could prove pivotal, with victory imperative, although it might still not be enough after Saturday’s turn of events in Harare.