The West Indies will begin the Super Six stage of the qualifiers on Saturday 1 July with a game against Scotland, in their continuing efforts to reach the ICC World Cup tournament to be played in India later this year.
However, they do so under immense pressure after a demoralising defeat to the Netherlands in their final Group A game, that went to a dramatic super-over, in which they were on the receiving end of a world record performance from Dutch all-rounder Logan Van Beek, who produced a sensational individual display, with both bat and ball.
It means that the West Indies failed to take forward any points and as a consequence, find themselves four points behind both Zimbabwe, the host nation who topped their group, and Sri Lanka who won Group B.
Additionally, they are trailing the Scots – who were the other group’s runners-up – by the two points they carried forward, and also the Netherlands, courtesy of Van Beek’s heroics, who collected two points for that victory.
It basically means that they need to win all three final games and hope for some extraordinary sets of results in the other fixtures to stand any chance of progressing further, and the likelihood of that seems pretty remote.
Challenging score posted
Going into their clash with the Dutch, the West Indies would have been reasonably confident, albeit still smarting from their defeat to Zimbabwe, in a contest they really should have won.
All seemed well when the Windies openers put on a century stand, with Brandon King going on to make 76, before another partnership of over a hundred between Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran helped the side post a daunting score of 374, from their 50 overs.
Remarkable last ball drama sees scores level
The Netherlands went for it from the off, with their opening batters: Vikramjit Singh and Max O’Dowd, crashing 71 inside the first 10 overs of their reply. Nonetheless, regular wickets fell as their innings stuttered, but they were still scoring heavily, aided by a brilliant 111 from Teja Nidamanuru.
As the game built to a climax, Van Beek suddenly became the man at the heart of everything. Firstly he looked to be guiding his side to victory with a 14-ball 28 and had them in a position where just a single was needed off the last ball.
Inexplicably though, he proceeded to pick out Jason Holder in the field, who took a great catch to leave the scores level and set up a thrilling “Super Over”.
World record hitting puts match beyond West Indies
This was when the New-Zealand based Van Beek, who has English T20 and County Championship experience with Derbyshire, suddenly went into full destructive mode.
He faced all six balls sent down, ironically by Holder, and smashed them for 4,6,4,6,6,4 for an unprecedented 30 off the over to re-write the record books. It was the most runs ever scored in a super-over, although Holder will reflect that his bowling choices were not his best, to say the least.
Unforgettable and probably unrepeatable performance
Incredibly, Van Beek wasn’t finished there. He then stepped forward to bowl his side’s one over and despite being hit for six of the first ball, he took two wickets and conceded just singles off two other deliveries to restrict the West Indies to a score of just 8-2, and seal a famous victory. He quite rightly walked away with the Man of the Match award too.
Whilst the Dutch celebrated wildly, Captain Hope and his men were left stunned as realisation kicked in that barring some unlikely results, they were probably going to now miss out on making it through to the finals for the first time.
Staring elimination in the face
They know they will have to beat all three of the Group B qualifiers, starting with Scotland this weekend, before taking on Oman on 5 July and concluding with a game against the Sri Lankans two days later.
Even three wins will probably not be enough, and the real prospect of the nation who won the first ever World Cup back in 1975 – and retained it four years later – failing to qualify, will become a fact.