Cremer banks on home support

BULAWAYO - With every point gained in the ongoing ICC World Cup Qualifiers right from the round robin stage, Zimbabwe are not taking any foot off the accelerator and are banking on home support when they take on Scotland in a Group B top of the table clash at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo this morning.

Both teams are tied on six points after winning their respective three matches but the locals are on the summit courtesy of a superior net run rate of 1.380 against Scotland’s 1.160 thanks to convincing 116-run and 89-run wins against Nepal and Hong Kong respectively.

“Yes happy with top of the table, crunch game on Monday (today). They (Scotland) will be up for the game, but the crowd will be behind us,” confident Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer told the Daily News yesterday.

Ten teams are currently in Zimbabwe all vying for the remaining two slots for England 2019. In Group B, two Super Six slots have already been confirmed courtesy of these two teams muscling it out in the top of the table at Queens.

The remaining place is still up for grabs.

Afghanistan have exhausted their four-game quarter and are praying for Nepal to do them a favour.

They are currently in third place with two points from four matches with only a win over Nepal.

If fourth placed Hong Kong beat Nepal today then that is the end of Afghanistan’s campaign and a huge disappointment it would be given their flashes of brilliance in the build-up to the Qualifiers that saw them humiliating Zimbabwe 4-1 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before stunning West Indies in a warm-up encounter at Harare Sports Club.

But Nepal’s uncharacteristic win against Hong Kong may just give Afghanistan a life-line — all the three teams will be on two points and depending on the net run rate, Afghanistan may just sneak into the Super Six and rebuild their campaign.

West Indies are the only side confirmed for the Super Six stage in Group A, they have a 100 percent winning record just like Zimbabwe and Scotland. There’s a four-point tie between Ireland and UAE, Netherlands are on two points while Papua New Guinea are yet to erase the duck.

Meanwhile, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), the country’s supreme sports governing body has congratulated Zimbabwe for sailing through to the Super Six but urged the side to up the tempo as they go towards the most exciting but difficult phase of the tournament.

“...SRC would like to heartily congratulate the cricket national team...for reaching the Super Six of the ICC World Qualifiers which is currently being hosted in Harare, Bulawayo and Kwekwe.

“This is a step in the right direction given that we need to qualify for the World Cup which is scheduled to take place next year in England,” SRC board chairperson Edward Siwela said in a statement.

“Now that you have reached the Super Six stage, our message to you is that, keep the eyes on the ball and it's not yet time to take the foot off the accelerator ... for the journey is still on.

“The nation is now waiting anxiously with hope that you will sail through this stage and be one of the two teams which will proceed to the World Cup.

“This calls for your determination, dedication, right framework of mind, concentration and playing purposefully. As the SRC, we are confident that you will make us proud by qualifying for the World Cup which is the pinnacle of cricket and this will take your cricketing career to another level.”

Cricket Fixtures Today:

Group B:
Zimbabwe v Scotland (Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo)
Hong Kong v Nepal (Bulawayo Athletic Club, Bulawayo)

Group A:
West Indies v Netherlands (Harare Sports Club, Harare)
Ireland v United Arab Emirates (Old Hararians Sports Club, Harare).

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