Scotland and Zimbabwe met at Queens Sports Club for the 28th event of the ICC World Cup 2023 qualifiers. The hosts were favorites to win the fixture, but the visitors ultimately surprised them. It was a massive win of 31 runs, something that Zimbabwe had not expected. Craig Ervine’s decision to bat later was considered suspicious because Richie Berrington’s side was starting to come strong with their bowling unit.
A portion of the middle order failed to take off. Openers, nonetheless, had done their job well. It was all about carrying forward the momentum. Scotland ended up putting in a total of 234 runs for the loss of 8 wickets. The hosts, seemingly confident of chasing the target, were restricted to 203 runs in 41.1 overs.
Only Ryan Burl and Wesley Madhevere battled on the pitch. A decent contributor was Sikandar Raza. The leading run-scorer Sean Williams allowed Chris Sole to take him back to the pavilion with just 12 runs. While he is still at the top of the charts, his team has slipped to third place with 6 points against them.
Zimbabwe’s net run rate has gone negative (-0.099), and the team is now dependent on how the upcoming event between Scotland and the Netherlands plays out. Scotland shares the number of points but has a better NRR of +0.296. The Netherlands stand a chance only if they win by a huge margin. An NRR of -0.042 is below Zimbabwe. So they have two teams to beat at the same time.
All Scotland has to do is win the game. They will be through to the finals and, hence, the main event. Zimbabwe could see a disappointing outing in its own backyard. The odds on top sites for cricket betting were favoring them against the visitors. What went wrong, then? Well, that is hard to determine. However, the opening pair was surely a bad show.
Joylord Gumbie played only a single ball. Chris Sole threw slightly back of the length, and Matthew Cross was quick enough to take up the catch. The right-arm fast-medium bowler took another wicket, sending the opponent’s skipper back to the dugout. This was the turning point for the hosts, coming right in the first three overs.
Still a doable chase, Zimbabwe continued falling victim to the attack of Scotland under their determination to win the match. Chris Sole earned the title of Player of the Match for picking up three wickets in seven overs, giving away just 33 runs.
The top three batters for Scotland scored below the half-century mark. Zimbabwe at least had Ryan shoot 83 runs in 84 balls. It was all a matter of how other players contributed.
Scotland versus the Netherlands goes live on July 6, 2023. It will be a decisive event, for Zimbabwe has zero matches left to boost its qualification chances.