It is hard to believe, but here it goes – West Indies, the two-time ICC World Cup winners, have slipped down to the third position in ICC ODI World Cup 2023 qualifiers. Once hailed as the best team in the format, they are now struggling to top the group in the pre-event of the global ICC tournament for the ultimate title. This came to light after Zimbabwe beat the Shai Hope-led side by 35 runs in the 13th match of the ongoing series.
While the road to the Super Six is wide open for West Indies, it is believed that the advancement will indeed be a close call for the former reigning champions. Nepal and the US are out of the race. Only one more match to go, and it will be all set for the top three teams from each group to compete for the play-off and the final.
Credits to the hosts for delivering an upset. However, one has to acknowledge that Zimbabwe is forming a pattern of emerging victorious in circumstances where they are put down as a weak team. Pakistan continued having nightmares from the time it failed to chase 130, losing by 1 run to them in the previous ICC T20 World Cup.
Defeating the West Indies has to be the second upset delivered by Craig Ervine’s men. The effect was obvious. Shai Hope and his team players were seen getting emotional on the ground. Zimbabwe consoled them for displaying true sportsmanship.
Not that the Indies played badly. It was rather a combination of average batting performance and the opponent’s broad bowling line-up. Brandon King departed for 20 runs in 12 balls. The aggressive innings delivered 2-4s and 1-6s for a strike rate of 166.67. Zimbabwe had put up a total of 268 runs for them to defend. It was a doable target, but the Indies were aiming to improve their net run rate to jump at the top spot of the table.
They are currently in third position with 4 points and an NRR of +0.700. Zimbabwe is leading the chart with an NRR of +0.917.
West Indies will next play against the Netherlands. Both are contesting for a higher spot as it will have a direct impact on the level of encouragement among players. West Indies, technically, have nothing to worry about. They are still the favorites per most of the best online betting sites for cricket, and their earlier wins in the qualifiers are pretty massive. The one against the UAE was by 114 runs at the Takashinga Cricket Club. Rovman Powell was on fire. He hit 105 runs to complete the ton in less than 55 balls.
Zimbabwe versus West Indies saw the turning point when Nicolas Pooran and Rovman Powell went back to the pavilion in just a matter of 8 balls. Wickets continued to fall. The entire team was done and dusted by the 45th over.
West Indies and the Netherlands will face each other on June 26, 2023, at Takashinga Cricket Club, starting at 12:30 pm IST. This will be the 18th installment of the qualifiers’ group stage. It will be a deciding event setting a clear tone for the next stage. Additionally, it will bring clarity to the team’s management about how they want to pursue the test and ODI series against India, with the tour starting on July 12, 2023.
The ICC ODI World Cup 2023 begins on October 05, 2023. It will be hosted by India with a total of 10 teams. Two spots are yet to be decided, and qualifiers will give those two teams to the world.