Zim, Scotland in dramatic stalemate

HARARE - Zimbabwe finished top of Group B with a dramatic tie against Scotland in their last group stage match at Queens Sports Club yesterday.

Rising seamer Blessing Muzarabani claimed the last wicket of 21-year-old tailender Brad Wheal whom he had caught behind by wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor for a golden duck on the first delivery of the last over of the match.

Zimbabwe had laboured to 210 runs all out in 44.6 overs buoyed by Craig Ervine’s 57, Taylor (44) and Solomon Mire’s 35 runs falling prey to Safyaan Sharif’s pace which yielded a five-for and offspinner Michael Leask’s four wickets after skipper Graeme Cremer elected to bat first.

Zimbabwe spinner Tendai Chisoro playing in his first match of the ongoing Qualifiers gave the locals hope in defence of their lean total with two quick wickets inside the first seven overs before Sean Williams and Cremer weighed in with a scalp each that saw Scotland reeling on 69/4 after 13.4 overs.

Chisoro had Scotland opening batsman and wicketkeeper Matthew Cross caught by Williams for 13 runs after 5,3 overs.

The left-arm spinner followed that up with the wicket of number three batsman Tom Sole who was caught behind by Taylor for four runs after 7.2 overs.

Williams stepped up to claim the wicket of Calum MacLeod who was caught by Ervine for one run and then entered Cremer with a caught and bowled effort to dismiss Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer for 39 runs.

The pendulum then swung in favour of Scotland who put a 76-run fifth wicket partnership between Richie Berrington (47) and George Munsey (29) taking them to 145/5 after Cremer’s intervention saw the former being caught by Sikandar Raza. At this stage Scotland needed 65 runs to win from 16 overs with five wickets in hand but more drama awaited them until the very end.

They needed 14 runs to win from the last two overs but could only go as far as Zimbabwe’s 210 as both sides shared a point each.

Meanwhile, Nepal handed Afghanistan a life-line after they defeated Hong Kong by five wickets with 56 balls remaining.

Afghanistan had been starring down the barrel and would have crashed out of the qualifiers had Hong Kong held on to a win against Nepal but they wobbled to a paltry 153 runs all out in 48.2 overs and in reply Nepal eased to 155/5 in 40.4 overs.

Group B will now be represented in the Super Six by Zimbabwe, Scotland and Afghanistan in their respective first to third places.

Group A has leaders West Indies who dismissed Netherlands by 54 runs Duckworth Lewis at Harare Sports Club yesterday while Ireland and United Arab Emirates completes the top three standings in the group.


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