A remarkable three-run D/L win by the United Arab Emirates has all but crushed Zimbabwe’s hopes of going to the World Cup.
There was nothing in it for the UAE, having lost four of their five matches in the super sixes of the qualifying tournament, but their fighting spirit came to the fore in a rain-interrupted match at Harare. The West Indies won through to the World Cup, also in a rain-hit match against Scotland on Wednesday, but this time it went the way of the Associate team.
Friday’s last super-six game, between Ireland and Afghanistan, will decide which of those two teams will qualify for the 2019 World Cup, but Zimbabwe’s dream is still alive on the thinnest of margins.
Their net run-rate (0.42) has dropped below Ireland’s (0.47), so even if Friday’s game is washed out, Ireland will qualify. But if there is a tie, Ireland’s NRR will drop and Zimbabwe would go through.
The Emirates, sent in to bat, put up a determined fight to score 235-7, led by Rameez Shahzad’s 59 and Ghulam Shabber’s 40, before the rain came down in the 48th over.
Once that had passed, Zimbabwe were given a target of 230 to make in 40 overs, and despite a faltering start which saw them at 45-3 in the 12th over, Peter Moor (39) and Sean Williams settled the innings with a stand of 79 for the fourth wicket. But their run-rate dropped alarmingly.
Williams went on to score 80 off 80 balls, and had good support from Sikandar Raza (34 off 26), but when Williams went, sixth out with the score on 206 with four overs remaining, it left the tail with too much to do. They ended on 226-7.
Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer said his team lost wickets at critical periods.
‘Taking nothing away from UAE, they bowled and fielded excellently. We’ll pick ourselves up soon, but right now it doesn’t feel too good.’
Photo: via ICC