Heartbreak for Scotland as West Indies Reach Cricket World Cup
***Cricketing minnows Scotland are through to the World Cup after a pulsating win over West Indies.***
That should have been the introduction to what would have been a stunning achievement, but Scotland were left in a state of disbelief after a shocking umpiring decision and a torrential downpour saw the West Indies advance at their expense.
Seeing the West Indies in World Cup qualifying shows how far they have fallen on the world stage, but they should have plumbed even greater depths.
In what was a winner-take-all encounter, Scotland took full advantage of winning the toss and bowled superbly to shoot out the West Indies for 198.
Only Evin Lewis and Marlon Samuels made decent contributions, but both were guilty of not going on after getting in on a tricky surface, and at the break Scotland would have had high hopes of a fairytale result.
Those dreams looked in tatters when the West Indies’ star bowling pair Kemar Roach and Jason Holder reduced Scotland to 25 for 3.
Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington and George Munsey set about rebuilding the innings and Scotland were well set with the latter pair having put on 38 for the fifth wicket. They had just begun to accelerate, and West Indies shoulders were visibly drooping, when controversy struck.
West Indies skipper Holder turned to the spin of Ashley Nurse who rapped Berrington on the pads. It looked a fairly simple decision of not out, as the ball was spinning well down leg side, but umpire Paul Wilson raised the finger and Berrington was forced to trudge off in a state of bewilderment.
The wicket turned the equation back in the West Indies’ favour should the heavens open, and four overs later the rain began to fall in Harare.
The talk was at first of only a shower, but the clouds soon closed in and within 20 minutes the ground resembled a lake – and the game was called off. At the close, the West Indies were five runs ahead on the DLS method.
There’s no guarantee Scotland would have navigated the four overs without the loss of a wicket, had Berrington been given not out, but he and Munsey looked in complete control of the situation and to slip to defeat in such circumstances will be extremely tough to take.
“We feel pretty rough right now,” Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer said, per Cricinfo. “There’s a bit of emotion going around. The guys are absolutely gutted.
“Clearly that lbw decision is not sitting very well with us right now.”
For the West Indies, it is a reprieve; possibly a lifeline. They failed to qualify for the Champions Trophy earlier this year, so to miss out on two major tournaments at a time when money is tight and the appeal of the game is wavering would have been a huge blow.
West Indies coach Stuart Law will know of the need to improve dramatically if they are to challenge next year, but the raw materials are there for the two-time World Cup winners to do just that and going all the way on the back of such a dramatic qualification would be some story.