Zim Bites The Dust; 2018 Repeats Itself – A Sad End For Zimbabwe’s Cricket World Cup Dreams As They Lose To Scotland By 31 Runs


Zimbabwe crumbled at the final hurdle of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier; falling to Scotland by 31 runs at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. With such a sad result, Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the Cricket World Cup. 

ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier Zimbabwe lose to Scotland by 31 runs queens Sports club

Similar to the huge disappointment in 2018 where the Chevrons failed to secure that one victory for qualification, Zimbabwe's batting line-up capitulated at the crucial moment leaving fans at the packed Queens Sports Club devastatingly heartbroken.

The stars seemed to have aligned as Zimbabwe's captain had won the toss and elected to bowl. Zimbabwe bowled quite impressively; whilst the bowlers did not pick early wickets, they ensured the run rate was kept in check at under four an over.

The spinners were brought on and they stifled the Scots even further as the pressure began to tell with much palpability.

Tendai Chatara broke the deadlock bowling out Andy Mcbride when the latter had only accumulated 28 runs off 45 balls. Wickets started falling at regular intervals; and Sean Williams finished with the best figures for Zimbabwe with his 3-42.

Seamer Tendai Chatara finished with 2-58. Scotland were kept on a tight leash throughout their innings, except in the last five overs when they scored 55 runs. The Scots concluded their innings with a total of 234 runs.

Zimbabwe's batting chase took a Murphy's law theme – anything that could go wrong went wrong. Joylord Gumbie was caught behind first ball for a golden duck (getting out off your only ball faced). It was the opener’s second duck in a row.

The top order could not handle Chris Sole's searing pace as he bowled Craig Ervine for two before bowling out the in-form batsman Sean Williams again. Williams was bowled out when he had garnered a paltry 12 runs.

When Brendan McMullen trapped Innocent Kaia leg before wicket leaving the Chevrons at 37-4, the World Cup dream was fizzling out real quick at a staggering pace. It was evident Zimbabwe could not hold their nerves, capitulating to the ingenious stratagems of Scotland’s determined bowlers.

The pendulum swung back a little bit in Zimbabwe's favour as Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl combined to a 50-run partnership for the fifth wicket, before Raza lofted one and was caught at the mid off boundary.

Raza’s play, cut short with his mistimed attempt to keep the scoreboard ticking, was woefully insufficient to steady the rocky Chevrons’ ship – as he was sent packing after scoring 34 runs off 40 deliveries. At this point, Zimbabwe’s qualification hopes were hanging by a thread.

Wessly Madhevere joined Burl and they put another fifty-run stand before Madhevere was trapped leg before wicket off from a splendid delivery by Chris Watt. Madhevere scored 40 runs after facing 39 balls.

His valiant attempt to extricate Zimbabwe from an impending mess were thus abruptly cut short – with each wicket that fell, a tense atmosphere enveloped the game.

From then on, Ryan Burl fought an obstinate and resolute lone battle with the fervent hopes of helping the Chevrons tilt the game in their favour.

But without solid batting partnerships in the wake of the top-order collapse, Burl’s attempt at scoring boundaries in quick succession saw him failing to negotiate a Micheal Leask delivery, and he was caught by McMullen on 83 (having faced 84 balls).

The Scots made light work of the tail-end completing, a sensational victory and keeping their qualifying hopes alive. And in the process, they shattered the hearts of Zimbabwean players and fans who had hoped 2018 would not repeat itself (in 2018, Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the World Cup after falling to the UAE in a must-win encounter at Harare Sports Club in the capital).

A win versus the Netherlands and Scotland will join Sri Lanka at the 50-over showpiece in India later this year.

Notwithstanding the disappointing end to what could have been an illustrious qualifying journey, some of the game’s observers noted how the Zimbabwe national cricket team has massively improved as compared to previous years, and that they now need to build from their newfound improved form to prepare for more challenges ahead.

Some lamented the fact that the ICC, in an impervious manner, still sticks to the 10-team Cricket World Cup when it is exceedingly clear that most of the nations previously regarded as low performers are now at the top of their game. Scotland and Netherlands have proved this beyond reasonable doubt. 

Regardless, Zimbabwe played their hearts out and although the result is devastating, lessons can be learned and the optimism for more big, positive results in the near and later future should not fade away.

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