The West Indies chances of going to the World Cup in India later this year ended in Harare on Saturday 1 July when they fell to a comprehensive defeat to a Scotland side that looked sharper and hungrier from the off.
The Scots reduced their Caribbean opponents to 30-4 before the end of the seventh over, putting them under immense pressure, from which they never managed to break free. Their total of 181 always looked well below par and so it proved, with Scotland reaching their target with more than 6 overs to spare.
It is the first time the West Indies have lost to the Scots in a one-day international, which meant that with two games still to play, they cannot now qualify even if they were to win those matches and therefore will miss a World Cup tournament for the first time ever. Captain Shai Hope questioned his team’s attitude when speaking after another bitterly disappointing performance.
For Scotland their dreams are still very much alive, tough as they may be. They are required to beat the host nation, Zimbabwe on 4 July and then overcome the Netherlands a couple of days later, to land one of the precious two place everyone has been playing for.
The victory was also sweet revenge for the defeat inflicted upon them by the West Indies five years ago at the same stage.
Captain Richie Berrington won the toss for Scotland and his decision to bowl first was vindicated within the first three overs with three wickets falling, all to Brandon McMullen. Then his new ball partner Chris Sole chipped in with the dismissal of Kyle Mayers, to leave the West Indies looking shell-shocked at 30-4.
When skipper Hope followed soon after there was a danger of complete humiliation, but a seventh wicket partnership of 77 between Jason Holder and Romario Shepherd brought some much needed respectability to proceedings.
It was though, too little too late and they both fell within four balls of each other with the score on 158. They limped to 181, but criminally failed to bat out their overs, with the final wicket falling with more than six overs remaining.
Century partnership eases Scots to victory
Chris McBride went first ball of Scotland’s reply, but any optimism was quickly crushed as McMullen and Matthew Cross put on 125 for the second wicket, and Cross was still there at the end, fittingly stroking the winning boundary to seal victory by seven wickets, with six and a half overs to spare.
Man of Match pays tribute to batting partner
McMullen was pleased with the way things went for him saying afterwards: “It was going my way, so we had to make use of it. I enjoyed all three wickets, they were all pretty good. Matthew was phenomenal today and took a lot of pressure off both of us; it was awesome to see him back in form.”
Pay back time
The result will be seen by the Scots as pay back for their defeat from five years ago when they were well on course to win, but bad weather finished the contest early and the Scots went out of the competition courtesy of DLS.
McMullen’s bowling partner Sole said: “It’s good to be on the right end of the result this time after being unlucky in 2018. It had been blazing sun the whole tournament and typically we managed to find the only rain in the whole of Zimbabwe that day and we were five runs short of a winning total and we didn’t manage to get back on. No rain this time so it was good to just beat them outright by ourselves.”
Captain gives honest appraisal
West Indies captain Hope spoke openly following the crushing defeat. He said the side had let themselves down throughout the entire tournament, not just the Scotland game. “We need to look at the way we start our innings. Fielding is well and truly an attitude, in my opinion; we need to make more effort, catches will drop, mis-fields will happen, it’s all part of the game, but effort needs to remain, regardless and I don’t think we gave 100% effort every time.”
He was critical of the team’s preparation saying: “We can’t just come here and expect to be an elite team. There’s a lot we need to focus on, we have to control what we can control.” He was nevertheless complimentary in defeat: “Scotland played really well, credit to them; I could see discipline, especially in the bowling attack and that’s something we can take from them.”