West Indies 198 (E Lewis 66, S Sharif 3 for 27) beat Scotland 125-5 (R Berrington 33, K Roach 2 for 20) by 5 runs (DLS Method)
Scotland bowed out of the race to the 2019 ICC World Cup in heartbreaking fashion as West Indies secured a five-run victory on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method. Having earlier bowled the tournament favourites out for just 198, Scotland had looked well-placed to complete a famous victory before a controversial wicket coupled with arriving rain scuppered their chances at the Harare Sports Club.
After Kyle Coetzer won the toss for the sixth time in the tournament Safyaan Sharif got Scotland away to a sensational start as Chris Gayle’s half-forward prod to the first ball of the match produced an edge behind to Matthew Cross. Shai Hope (0) followed at the start of the third, too, as Sharif’s prodigious swing reduced West Indies to 2-2, and with Marlon Samuels coming out to join Evin Lewis a cock-a-hoop Scotland had already found their way into the middle order.
Lewis and Samuels looked to rebuild as Scotland kept the pressure on. A nip-and-tuck battle developed between Samuels and Ali Evans as the Jamaican responded to an awkward bouncer with a square cut to the boundary off the next ball. Despite sustaining an early blow to the inside of the knee from the lively Sharif, Lewis was also finding his range, taking consecutive sixes off an Evans over which cost twenty. As Lewis reaching fifty, his third half century of the competition, the recovery appeared complete.
Superbly, thrillingly, back came Scotland. With the partnership at 116 Lewis (66) was beaten for pace to be trapped in front by Brad Wheal, and with Michael Leask following up with two in two as Samuels (51) was caught by Tom Sole and Shimron Hetmyer (4) by Cross, the Windies were back in trouble at 135-5.
Jason Holder (12) miscued a pull to Calum MacLeod as Evans’ hard work was rewarded, and with Man-of-the-Match Sharif adding the wicket of Rovman Powell (15) and Richie Berrington that of Ashley Nurse (5), West Indies failure to capitalise on their earlier platform had suddenly left them looking down the barrel of a World Cup exit.
The 49th over put a spectacular seal on to what had been a fabulous display from Scotland as Wheal (3-34) shattered Keemo Paul’s stumps for the tenth wicket. Kyle Coetzer had kept his side on the attack from the very start and Scotland had their just reward.
Requiring 199 to reach the World Cup, Scotland’s reply began with the crucial wicket of their captain as Coetzer (3) slapped Kemar Roach to point. Opening partner Cross (4) chopped on to Holder in the fourth over, and when 12-2 became 25-3 as Michael Jones (14) holed out to deep fine leg the Windies had got themselves right back into the game.
MacLeod and Berrington, whose partnership against Afghanistan had set Scotland on their way on the first day of the tournament, began to rebuild the innings. Berrington nudging a four off his hip before adding a second through the covers whilst MacLeod drove Carlos Brathwaite to the fence in fine style as Scotland passed fifty.
With the bowlers giving little away the pressure was on, however, and Scotland were pegged back again as MacLeod (21) chipped a smart return catch to Nurse. With drizzle in the air George Munsey (32*) joined the fray, and after being dropped by Gayle at first slip the former Northants batsman quickly went onto the attack with three reverse-sweeps to the boundary as the deficit moved into double figures.
The wicket of Berrington (33) proved to be the pivotal moment in settling the outcome of the match, however, as, in a tournament without DRS, he was given out to a contentious LBW decision in the 32nd over. New batsman Leask (14*) began by hitting Holder to the boundary, but when the long-threatened rain finally arrived four overs later the players left the field with the extra wicket having put Scotland five runs behind the DLS par score.
With puddles forming on the outfield the match was finally abandoned to bring an end to a truly magnificent campaign in the cruellest way imaginable.