BULAWAYO: Tournament favourites Zimbabwe have been knocked out of the World Cup qualification race after the hosts succumbed to a shocking defeat against Scotland in the Cricket World Cup (CWC) Qualifier Super Six clash.
Set to chase a modest 235-run, the home side could only raise 203 before being bundled out in the 42nd over despite Ryan Burl’s fighting 83-run knock.
The hosts had a dismal start to the pursuit as they lost four wickets in the eighth with just 37 runs on the scoreboard with in-form batter Sean Williams (12) and skipper Craig Ervine (0) also falling victim to the early debacle caused by a ruthless Chris Sole’s opening spell.
With Zimbabwe reeling at 37/4, in-form Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl attempted to anchor the run chase and put on a valiant 54-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
The pair appeared to have settled down and had put Scotland bowlers in dire need of a breakthrough which they eventually found in the 18th over when Raza miscued one off Chris Greaves and handed an easy catch to Tomas Mackintosh at long-off.
Raza could score 34 off 40 deliveries, laced with two boundaries and a six.
Wessley Madhevere joined Ryan Burl in the middle after Raza’s dismissal and put on another crucial partnership for their side in a daunting run chase.
The pair of Madhevere and Burl added a brisk 73 runs during their sixth-wicket partnership and had pulled Zimbabwe out of danger but Scotland once again managed to find a breakthrough at the perfect time when Brandon McMullen removed the former in the 31st over.
Madhevere scored a quick 40 off 39 deliveries with the help of three boundaries and a six.
Click to watch CWC Qualifier Live on ARY ZAP
Zimbabwe then lost two more wickets in quick successions as Wellington Masakadza and Richard Ngarava perished in successive overs to leave Zimbabwe in heaps of trouble at 182/8.
Ryan Burl, who was hanging on for Zimbabwe with a gritty knock finally perished in the 39th over as he failed to time his slog sweep of Michael Leask and put Scotland in complete command.
He remained the top scorer for Zimbabwe with an 84-ball 83 which featured eight boundaries and a six, receiving massive applause from the dejected home crowd as he walked off.
Right-arm pacer Safyaan Sharif wrapped up an astonishing victory for Scotland in the 42nd over when he castled Tendai Chatara, who could score a mere two.
Scotland could score 234/8 in the allotted 50 overs after they were put into bat first.
All-rounder Michael Leask led the batting charge for Scotland with a quickfire 48-run knock on 34 deliveries which featured three boundaries and two sixes.
Before Leask’s blitz, Scotland’s top four – Christopher McBride (28), Matthew Cross (38), Brandon McMullen (34) and George Munsey (31) – made significant contributions up the order to lay a solid foundation for a defendable total.
Bowling all-rounder Mark Watt also lent a helping hand with a 21-run cameo at the backend and bolstered his side’s total alongside Leask.
Sean Williams led the bowling attack for Zimbabwe with 3/41, followed by Tendai Chatara who returned with 2/46.