Scotland knock West Indies out of 2023 World Cup qualification race

The Men in Maroon will miss out on their first-ever Cricket World Cup

Scotland knock West Indies out of 2023 World Cup qualification race PHOTO: AFP

Scotland registered a seven-wicket victory over West Indies on Saturday, to knock West Indies out of the 2023 World Cup race.

This loss to Scotland has confirmed that the Men in Maroon will be missing out on their first-ever Cricket World Cup.

Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe are first and second on the points table with six points each, with two games remaining for all six teams. Scotland and Netherlands are also still in the race with four points and two points, respectively. 

After two exciting contests in Bulawayo, the Super Six action saw Scotland bundle West Indies out for 181 in Harare.

Chasing the target, Scotland suffered a blow on the first ball of their innings, as Jason Holder got rid of Christopher McBride for a duck.

Brandon McMullen and Matthew Cross combined for a gritty 125-run partnership, to take Scotland close to the target,

With Scotland 57 runs to win, Romario Shepherd provided a much needed breakthrough for West Indies by dismissing McMullen for 69.

However, an unbeaten 74-run innings from Cross took Scotland over the finish line.

Earlier, brilliant bowling from Scotland ensured that they maintained complete control over the game in the first half. Barring Jason Holder and Romario Shepherd, no other West Indies batter got going.

Defeats to Zimbabwe and Netherlands in the group stages mean that the Men in Maroon needed to be at their very best in order to keep their World Cup hopes alive. But, the batting floundered with Scotland enjoying a brilliant first half with the ball.

Scotland's new-ball pair of Chris Sole and Brandon McMullen rattled the West Indies lineup in the first Powerplay. McMullen brought the first three dismissals, Johnson Charles fell while trying to go over the covers, Shamarh Brooks edged one to slips after going at one with heavy hands and Brandon King spooned a simple catch back to the medium pacer.

The West Indian turmoil was exacerbated when Sole uprooted Kyle Mayers' off-stump in the seventh over to leave the side at 30/4.

Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran, the top two run-getters for West Indies in the Qualifier, were left to shoulder the responsibility of a rebuild. Windies would've hoped that the duo would repeat their performance from the Nepal game, where they had added 216 runs for the fourth wicket to salvage the innings. However, there was to be no rescuing act today, as Hope was caught behind off Safyaan Sharif.

Scotland were in complete control of the innings after Pooran fell to Mark Watt in the 21st over. The southpaw tried to swipe the slow left-arm orthodox spinner out of the ground, but managed to hit it towards the deep mid-wicket, where the ball juggled in and out of Christopher McBride's hands before he managed to hold on to it.

The recovery finally came from the hands of former captain Holder and Shepherd, who added 77 runs for the seventh-wicket stand. They made batting look easy and helped the West Indies cross the 150-run mark in the 35th over.

With their presence, the team could've dreamt of a total in the range of 270-280. However, the stand came to an end in the 37th over when Sharif pulled off a one-handed blinder at backward point off Watt to get Shepherd (36). Holder (45) fell lbw in the very next over to give another blow to the West Indies.

West Indies were eventually bowled out in the 44th over. McMullen was the pick of Scotland bowlers with his 3/32.