Scots come out on top as West Indies’ World Cup hopes collapse after third consecutive defeat

West Indies lost their third consecutive match

A new chapter was added to cricket history in Zimbabwe’s Harare Sports Club on Saturday but it is a chapter that West Indies will soon like to forget. The two-time champions were knocked out of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, as they suffered a seven-wicket defeat against Scotland.

Winning the toss, Scotland opted to bat first and it proved to be the perfect decision, as West Indies’ batting order crumbled under pressure once again. Veteran opener Johnson Charles failed to utilize the momentum he had gained by scoring a half-century in the last match against the Netherlands, as he departed for a duck.

Another veteran, Shamarh Brooks then decided to match his partner, as he too got dismissed for a duck, with Brandon McMullen picking both of those wickets. Brandon King did offer a fight, but it was not much as he was dismissed by McMullen on 22, leaving the Windies stranded at 25/3.

Kyle Mayers, who was seen in the form of his life in Indian Premier League 2023, could not get going at all in this tournament and departed for just five runs, as Chris Sole picked up his first wicket of the game.

The first real partnership of the match was stitched between skipper Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran, as the score went from 30/4 to 60/4. But just when it seemed that the pair would get West Indies out of their misery, Hope ended his team’s hopes by losing his wicket to Safyaan Sharif.

Pooran, too, followed his captain on his way back, adding just 21 runs to his team’s tally, with Mark Watt getting into the giant Scottish party as well. At 81/6, it did seem that West Indies might not even reach double figures, but such a humiliation was avoided by the partnership of Jason Holder and Romario Shepherd.

The man of many wars for the West Indies team, Holder was the commander-in-chief of this war as well, as he scored 45 runs in 79 deliveries. On the other hand, though Shepherd is known primarily for his bowling, he proved that he can also do a decent job with the bat, scoring 356 runs in 43 deliveries.

The pair added 77 runs for the seventh-wicket stand and took their team’s score to nearly 200. However, they departed in a span of just four deliveries, with Watt and Chris Greaves delivering the killer blows. Following their dismissals, Kevin Sinclair scored 10 runs, while Akeal Hosein and Alzarri Joseph combined to score 12, but it ultimately proved inconsequential as West Indies could only score 181 runs.

Hope needed his bowlers to produce a fiery start in order to make a comeback in the team, and Holder did just that by dismissing Christopher McBride in the very first ball. However, it was nothing more than a few minutes of Caribbean joy, as Scotland soon regained control of the match.

Brandon McMullen put up an all-round show for Scotland

Wicketkeeper-batter Matthew Cross looked in sublime touch with the bat, while McMullen, who haunted the West Indian batters with his bowling, returned to haunt their bowlers with his batting. The duo added 125 runs for the third wicket stand.

McMullen was dismissed by Shepherd after scoring 69 runs in 106 deliveries,  which included as many as 8 fours, alongside a six as well. When he got out, Scotland still needed 57 runs to get over the line, but any possible collapse was avoided by George Munsey.

The experienced batter scored 18 crucial runs before losing his wicket to Akeal Hosein, while Cross, who scored his 10th ODI half-century, remained unbeaten on 74 runs in 107 deliveries, striking 7 fours in the process of doing so.

This defeat means West Indies now have zero points in their Super Six tally, having lost three consecutive matches against Zimbabwe, Netherlands, and Scotland. With Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe already having six points to their name, the Windies are now officially out of the reckoning.

On the other hand, Scotland kept their hopes alive for an Indian trip by winning this encounter. This was their second win in Super Six, after the 76-run victory against Oman, and they are placed third with 4 points. Richie Berrington’s team will now face Zimbabwe and Netherlands, and two back-to-back wins should be enough for the European side to confirm a place in the World Cup.