ANI Photo | CWC Qualifier: Scotland keeps their World Cup hopes alive by ending Zimbabwe’s World Cup chances

After enjoying an unbeaten run into the Super Six stage Zimbabwe’s dream of sealing their place in the World Cup 2023 ended on a bitter note, as they suffered back-to-back losses to Sri Lanka and Scotland in the Cricket World Cup Qualifier on Tuesday at the Queens Sports Club.
Chris Sole’s searing new-ball spell put Scotland in the driver’s seat after their batters managed to scrape their way to put on a competitive total on the board.
Sole sent back opener Joylord Gumbie off the first ball and then sent skipper Craig Ervine back, Zimbabwe were down two wickets before the third over ended.
The host stumbled once again as the in-form batter Sean Williams was bowled by Sole in the seventh over with Zimbabwe’s score still under 30, establishing Scotland’s dominance.
They could have furthered increased their advantage if Chris Greaves held onto a catch. But, Scotland compensated for the missed opportunity as they found a wicket at the other end with Innocent Kaia dismissed for a score of 12(19).
From that point, Raza, alongside Ryan Burl, laid the groundwork for a solid partnership to pull Zimbabwe back into the game.
But Greaves rose to the occasion and made amends for the missed opportunity by sending Raza back to the pavilion in his first over to break the game-changing stand. Burl remained unfazed and went on to complete his fifty, and Wessly Madhevere turned out to be the ideal company. Their partnership restored Zimbabwe’s faith and confidence once again.
However, Scotland didn’t let their heads down as Mark Watt brought Scotland back into the game when he trapped Madhevere in front of the stumps for 40 in the 31st over.
Burl’s continued onslaught on Scotland bowlers kept the entire team on their toes with Wellington Masakadza holding up the other end.
When McMullen returned to dismiss Masakadza, Scotland had an opening at the tail and Burl had no other option but to attack.
Burl smashed Leask for a four and a six consecutively before another slog attempt brought an end to his impressive knock of 83 (84).
Safyaan Sharif brought an end to Zimbabwe’s innings to help Scotland leapfrog them in the points table with a 31-run victory and further boost their World Cup hopes.
The Netherlands-Scotland match on Thursday becomes a virtual eliminator with the winner booking their spot alongside Sri Lanka for Cricket World Cup 2023.
Earlier, a half-century stand at the top of the order from Christopher McBride and Matthew Cross was followed by another impressive start from Brandon McMullen.
But Scotland’s charge against the hosts came to a pause when Sean Williams decided to put up the cape and become a hero with the ball.
The Zimbabwean, who had bowled only 15 overs without taking a wicket across six matches in this tournament before this game, ran riot for the hosts.
The left-arm spinner sent back Cross with a slower one that the batter missed entirely while trying to slog sweep. Having broken the dangerous stand between Cross and McMullen, Williams went on to dent the Scots with the wicket of the latter.
A floated-up delivery on off-stump was slogged straight to long-on and Zimbabwe had two quick wickets and two new batters at the crease.
Williams still wasn’t done, and his deliveries were holding up just a bit in the wicket to trouble the big hits Scotland were targeting.
Richie Berrington was next to fall, trying the same fateful shot that saw the demise of the two batters before him. Looking to go aerial down the ground, Berrington miscued the loft to long-off and Scotland had gone from 102/1 to 118/4.
Richard Ngarava firmly swung the contest Zimbabwe’s way with a peach of a delivery, a yorker fired in fast at the base of the middle stump. Munsey was beaten all ends up and departed for 31, leaving Scotland in tatters.
After executing the hits off Ngarava and Muzarabani, Leask raced to 38 off 30 balls by the end of the 48th over with Scotland’s total crossed 200.
A six next over took Leask to 48, but Tendai Chatara sent him back to give Zimbabwe a big wicket.
In the end, Mark Watt managed to pull off 13 in the final over to push Scotland’s total to 234/8, a competitive total even if chasing has been easier in the Queens Sports Club.
Brief Scores: Scotland 234/8 (Michael Leask 48(34), Matthew Cross 38(75) and Sean Williams 3/41) vs Zimbabwe 203 (Ryan Burl 83(84), Wesley Madhevere 40(39) and Chris Sole 3/33). (ANI)

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