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Windies overcome late scare to beat Zim – Here is What the loss means

The Windies averted disaster and swung the Cricket World Cup Qualifier back their way after chasing down Zimbabwe’s 289 in a tense Super Six game at Harare Sports Club.

Brendan Taylor of Zimbabwe hits out during The Cricket World Cup Qualifier between The Windies and Zimbabwe at The Harare Sports Club on March 19, 2018 in Harare, Zimbabwe (©ICC).

While a win for Zimbabwe would have confirmed their spot in the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales, the result put the Windies top of the table and means both sides require wins in their final Super Six matches to guarantee their qualification for the tournament.

After Brendan Taylor’s superb 138 had guided the hosts to a strong total, West Indies put together a succession of telling partnerships to secure victory despite Zimbabwe threatening yet another dramatic comeback.

Chris Gayle got things off to a brisk start by striking consecutive sixes off Sikandar Raza in a breezy 13-ball 18. Zimbabwe were delighted to get him early – caught at third man off Blessing Muzarabani (2/36) – but they would have to wait a while longer for any further breakthroughs.

Evin Lewis batted well alongside No.3 Shai Hope to compile 64 – including seven fours and a six – before departing caught and bowled to Raza in the 22nd over.

Hope and Player of the Match Marlon Samuels then set about putting the Windies in charge, milking the Zimbabwe attack and gradually accelerating to get their team within striking distance of the total at 245/2.

Samuels was furious with himself for falling caught behind to a Muzarabani slower ball in the 44th over for 86, and he might have been even more upset had he known the collapse that would ensue.

Hope was out just five balls later for 76, to a brilliant catch in the deep by Raza off the left-arm spin of Sean Williams. Now it was 249/4 in the 45th with two new batsmen at the crease, both of whom – Shimron Hetmyer (13) and Jason Holder (6) – were out in the 46th to leave the WIndies 265/6. Zimbabwe had taken four wickets in three overs while Windies – with Hetmyer having come out all guns blazing – had put on 22 runs.

With the crowd a-buzz and sensing yet another comeback win from Zimbabwe, it took cool heads and cautious batting from Rovman Powell (15*) and Ashley Nurse (8*) to see their team over the line in the end. The pair picked up 10 singles, a two, two boundaries and two extras to reach the 21 required from the last four overs, which was achieved with an over to spare. Presser

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