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Friday, July 19, 2024

Scotland deny Chevrons World Cup berth

Story by Raynald Ngwarati

IT is a day Zimbabwe cricket fans would wish to rub out of existence. History repeated itself as minnows Scotland eliminated Zimbabwe from the route to India.

A repeat of fate as many would call it, the ghosts of 2018 came back to haunt Zimbabwe, as they lost to lowly-ranked Scotland by 31 runs at Queens Sports Club this Tuesday to lose out on a ticket to the World Cup later this year.

Despite the fans singing their lungs out, “Zimbabwe hairohwe” (Zimbabwe cannot be beaten), a top order collapse poured venom into the jingle’s lyrics and the unexpected overtook the sight of reality, as yet again Zimbabwe was denied a ticket to the World Cup by an associate nation, evoking yesteryear’s memories when the UAE beat Zimbabwe by 3 runs in their final Super Six match on home soil.

Not even the cheers, songs and dance from arguably the best cricket fans in the world could make Scotland panic. Instead, the Scotts went into aggressive mode with the ball as they have been all tournament long. Second only to Sri Lanka in terms of bowling, the Scottish bowlers ensured they cleaned up Zimbabwe’s tail to claim 57 wickets in just 6 encounters.

Chris Sole was in imperious form as Zimbabwe lost four wickets for just 37 runs, with Joylord Gumbie losing his wicket from the first delivery of the innings. As if that was not enough, captain Craig Ervine fell for just two runs in the third over, before the tournament’s leading run scorer, Sean Williams followed suit four overs later, to signal an impending repeat of the 2018 fortunes.

After Innocent Kaia lost his wicket to make it 37 runs for 4, Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl tried to do some repair work to Zimbabwe’s innings before Raza lost his wicket cheaply for 34 runs to make it 91-5.

Madhevere tried to pick up from where Raza left, putting on a 73-run 6th-wicket stand with Burl reigniting hopes of Zimbabwe coming back into the game. However, a good ball from Mark Watt changed the script for the Chevrons as Madhevere went out for 40(39).

From that moment, the scriptures had taken the worst turn for the Chevrons and despite Ryan Burl 83(84) hitting his second 50 in the tournament, the Chevrons could not get over the line. To add salt to injury, the Chevrons will miss the global showpiece for the second time in a row.

Earlier, Sean Williams was in spectacular form with the ball as he grabbed 3 wickets for 41 runs in his ten over spell helping Zimbabwe into a good position to dominate proceedings at Queens Sports Club.

However, poor bowling at the death cost Zimbabwe as Scotland put up 54 runs in the final 5 overs to set Zimbabwe 235 runs to win.

In the end, Zimbabwe had to pay the price for their final overs slumber, as those runs made the difference between them and Scotland.

The defeat means that Zimbabwe are officially out of the race for a ticket to India due to an inferior net runrate, while either Scotland or Netherlands will make it to the World Cup alongside Sri Lanka based on the outcome of their encounter this Thursday.

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