Afghanistan, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates reached the Super Six stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 in contrasting styles on the final day of the group matches on Monday to join defending champions Scotland, two-time former world champions the Windies and hosts Zimbabwe.
In Group A, the Windies beat the Netherlands by 54 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method when they scored 310 for six in 48 overs and then left the Netherlands struggling at 167 for six in 28.4 overs in front of broadcast cameras to put the ICC World Cricket League Championship winners out of the Super Six race. Ireland extended their unbeaten run against the United Arab Emirates to six matches when they won by 226 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method but the Asian side still progressed with two wins as compared to the Netherlands’ one win, while in Group B, Nepal did a massive favour to Afghanistan when they beat Hong Kong by five wickets which meant Afghanistan moved on owing to a better net run-rate despite losing their first three matches.
In the final Group B fixture, Zimbabwe stretched their unbeaten run to 28 matches in the history of the tournament when they tied their last match against Scotland at the Queens Sports Club. Chasing 211 for victory, Scotland had the game in hand when they needed two runs to win off seven balls with two wickets left. But they lost both their remaining wickets for one run as both the sides finished on 210.
Monday’s results mean the Windies will carry maximum four points in the Super Six stage, Ireland two and the UAE zero, while Zimbabwe and Scotland will carry forward three points apiece and Afghanistan none. The sides will also retain their pre-event group seeding in the Super Six stage, whose fixtures which were finalised after minor changes and following the Event Technical Committee’s approval.
Following the conclusion of the group matches, Scotland and the UAE have retained their ODI status for the next four years until 2022, while the third Associate Member team to keep the ODI status will be confirmed following the seventh to tenth position play-offs. The Netherlands have already qualified for the new 13-team ODI League commencing in 2020.
At the Old Hararians, captain William Porterfield and Paul Stirling bettered their opening partnership record as Ireland rattled 313 for six in 44 overs against the UAE. The two batsmen put on 205 runs after being sent in to bat, improving their 177-run stand during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 against the Netherlands in Kolkata.
Porterfield missed his 12th career century by eight runs when he was dismissed for 92 from 103 balls with 10 fours and two sixes, but 27-year-old Stirling notched up his seventh career century and first against the UAE when he was dismissed after scoring 126. His blistering innings included 15 fours and five sixes from 117 balls.
Kevin O’Brien then hit a quick-fire 26-ball 50 not out with seven fours and a six as Ireland finished at 313 for six from their 50 overs.
The UAE, in their turn, collapsed like a house of cards against Boyd Rankin, when the lanky fast bowler returned figures of 6-2-15-4 as the side from the Sheikhdom was dismissed for 91 in 29.3 overs. Off-spinner Simi Singh finished with three for 15, his best bowling in five ODIs.
The pace and spin combination of Safyaan Sharif and Michael Leask recorded career-best figures of five for 33 and four for 37, respectively, as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 210 in 46.4 overs with Craig Ervine scoring 57 and Brendan Taylor scoring 44.
Scotland were cruising at 145 for four before they slipped to 173 for eight. However, Leask and Mark Watt (17) carried them to 209 for eight when Watt fell to Tendai Chatara off the last ball of the 48th over. Blessing Muzarabani started the final over with a wide that tied the scores before accounting for last-man Brad Wheal with Leask stranded at 28.
Captain Graeme Cremer (three for 23) and Tendai Chisoro (three for 42) shared the wickets to bring Zimbabwe back in the match, which at one stage looked firmly in Scotland’s control.
Scotland’s Richie Berrington later said: “Unbelievable game of cricket, in the end it went all the way to the death. Pretty exciting stuff!
“Obviously, from our point of view it is disappointing to get in that position, so close and not get over the line, obviously though we will take a point from it Losing a few wickets early, George and myself managed to get a partnership going but obviously disappointed not to go on a bit longer and see it through towards the end.”
The Windies rode on half-centuries from Evin Lewis (84), Marlon Samuels (73 not out) and Rovman Powell (52), as well as Chris Gayle’s 31-ball 46 with five sixes and two fours to post 309 for six in 48 overs.
The Netherlands had a poor start when they were reduced to 29 for two before they recovered to 142 for two and then were 167 for six in 28.4 overs when rain prevented any further play at the Harare Sports Club. Ryan ten Doeschate was the top scorer with 67 not out, while opener Wesley Barresi scored 64.
An unfinished 89-run sixth wicket partnership between Rohit Paudel (48 not out) and Sompal Kami (37 not out) ousted Hong Kong from the Super Six contention and put Afghanistan in as Nepal chased down a 154-run target for the loss of five wickets with more than nine overs to spare.
Had Hong Kong won the match, they would have progressed to the Super Six, but the result meant Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Nepal were tied on one win apiece with Afghanistan marching on due to a superior net run-rate.
Scores in brief (Games involving the Netherlands and Nepal will be classified as List-A matches as the two sides don’t have ODI status coming into this tournament):
Windies beat the Netherlands by 54 runs (Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method), Harare Sports Club (Group A)
Windies 309-6, 48 overs (Evin Lewis 84, Marlon Samuels 73 not out, Rovaman Powell 52, Chris Gayle 46; Roelof van der Merwe 2-46, Paul van Meekeren 2-37, Peter Borren 2-55)
The Netherlands 167-6, 28.4 overs (Ryan ten Doeschate 67 not out, Wesley Barresi 64)
Player of the match – Evin Lewis (Windies)
Ireland beat the United Arab Emirates by 226 runs (revised target 318 runs in 44 overs), Old Hararians (Group A)
Ireland 313-6, 44 overs (Paul Stirling 126, William Porterfield 92, Kevin O’Brien 50 not out; Mohammad Naveed 3-84, Imran Haider 2-73)
UAE 91 all out, 29.3 overs (Boyd Rankin 4-15, Simi Singh 3-15, Barry McCarthy 2-26)
Player of the match – Paul Stirling (Ireland)
Nepal beat Hong Kong by five wickets, Bulawayo Athletic Club, (Group B)
Hong Kong 153 all out, 48.2 overs (Nizakat Khan 47, Ehsan Khan 21, Babar Hayat 20; Sandeep Lamichhane 3-17, Basant Regmi 2-20, Karan KC 2-35)
Nepal 155-5, 40.4 overs (Rohit Paudel 48 not out, Sompal Kami 37 not out; Ehsan Khan 2-34, Aizaz Khan 2-40)
Player of the match – Rohit Kumar (Nepal)
Scotland v Zimbabwe match tied, Queens Sports Club (Group B)
Zimbabwe 210 all out, 46.4 overs (Craig Ervine 57, Brendan Taylor 44, Solomon Mire 35; Safyaan Sharif 5-33, Michael Leask 4-37)
Scotland 210 all out, 49.1 overs (Richie Berrington 47, Kyle Coetzer 39, George Munsey 29, Michael Leask 28 not out,; Graeme Cremer 3-23, Tendai Chisoro 3-42)
Player of the match – Safyaan Sharif (Scotland)