Zim in agonising loss

HARARE - Brendan Taylor's 138 went in vain as Zimbabwe lost to West Indies by four wickets in an entertaining Super Six ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier encounter here yesterday.

The result left Zimbabwe to fight for their qualification in their final match against United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

The win took West Indies to six points and they now lead the six-team Super Six table ahead of Zimbabwe and Scotland who are both tied on five points.

Interestingly, the Caribbean Islanders who won their first match in this Super Six stage after going down to Afghanistan in their first match will face Scotland tomorrow in a winner takes all kind of affair at Harare Sports Club.

In the event Zimbabwe win against UAE, then the hosts would have qualified for the 2019 international cricket showcase to be staged in England and Wales.

A win for West Indies will see them end the Super Six stage with eight points, one above Zimbabwe and three ahead of tomorrow’s opposition while a win for Scotland will see both sides from Group B progressing on seven points each with West Indies crashing out of the competition.

But an unlikely situation, which happened in group stages though — a draw between West Indies and Scotland will still see the former joining Zimbabwe on seven points and through to the World Cup while Scotland crashes out on six points.

Yesterday, Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer elected to bat after winning the toss and opener Zhuwao’s penchant for big hits saw him departing for a give-ball duck after he was caught by Keemo Paul off Jason Holder’s bowling in the second over of the match.

Hamilton Masakadza followed for seven runs in the sixth over falling to Holder but this time being caught by Shai Hope to leave Zimbabwe struggling on 28/2 after 5.5 overs.

Some scary moments followed an over later after Solomon Mire was forced to retire out due to blurred vision after a delivery from Kemar Roach lodged in the grill of his helmet. Mire was on 22 runs when the incident took place; he was treated for swelling and blurred vision from mild nerve compression in his right eye and was only cleared to return back to the crease after swelling had subsided and his vision cleared enough to bat.

And credit to the opening batsman he added another 23 runs when he returned to bat in the 42nd over after Sikandar Raza’s dismissal by Holder and he too fell in similar fashion in which just like Raza, was bowled out by the West Indies captain who finished with four wickets for 35 runs in 10 overs.

Pace bowler Roach picked three wickets for 55 runs in 10 overs while spinner Ashley Nurse grabbed two as Zimbabwe were bowled all out for 289 runs.

In between Zimbabwe’s innings Taylor provided a spectacle of an innings playing his trademark upper cut and reverse sweep to perfection much to the annoyance of opposition.

Taylor reached his first 50 in 65 balls before he raced to 100 in 105 deliveries, just 40 balls to his second fifty with a clean reverse sweep off Chris Gayle’s delivery in the 38th over.

With the century, 138 runs, Taylor cemented his position of having the most One Day International hundreds for Zimbabwe taking them to 10.

Former skipper Alastair Campbell follows in second place with seven centuries, Grant Flower has six, Hamilton Masakadza (five) while Neil Johnson and Andy Flower have four while Raza is on three.

Sean Williams added 34 runs while Tendai Chisoro weighed in with 18 runs but the team were probably 30 runs shy of a winning total after Taylor’s masterpiece.

Zimbabwe almost got off to a flying start but Raza could not hold on to a sharp catch at point that would have seen West Indies opening batsman Evin Lewis falling to Kyle Jarvis’ bowling for a duck.

Raza later came to take his man courtesy of a caught and bowled effort but Lewis by then had raced to 64 runs and his team on 110/2 after 21.2 overs.

Young seamer Blessing Muzarabani made the all-important breakthrough when he had danger man Gayle caught by Jarvis at fine leg for 17 runs before Marlon Samuels (86) and Shai Hope (76) took the game beyond Zimbabwe’s reach.

Zimbabwe then made a few in roads later into the match but the damage had already been done.

 

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