Rain came to the rescue of the West Indies, who qualified for the 2019 Cricket World Cup 2019 by defeating Scotland by five runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method in a Super Six fixture of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 at the Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.
Scotland, chasing 199 and knowing that a win booked their tickets for the World Cup, were 125 for five in 35.2 overs when a heavy downpour prevented further play in the match. When play was called off, Scotland needed 74 runs in just over 14 overs.
By DLS method Scotland were five runs short.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story.
A few minutes before the rain delay, Scotland were at the receiving end of a poor umpiring decision. A well-set Richie Berrington was controversially given out leg-before to a delivery from Ashley Nurse that was quite clearly missing leg stump. That wicket meant proved to be the difference – had Scotland not lost Berrington, the par score was 121 when rain stopped play. The tournament’s rules meant there was no DRS either. And there were no reserve days allotted to any fixture.
Thanks for nothing, then, ICC.
“Clearly that lbw decision is not sitting very well with us right now,” said Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer. “It’s not the first one in this tournament. In a competition like this, it comes down to a big game like that. Two critical moments in two critical games have potentially cost us. So we’re not feeling too flash right now.”
“We had the full backing of every Associate nation behind us today,” continued Coetzer. “Everyone was wanting us to turn over the West Indies. But it was not to be. It’s hard to comprehend that there’s only going to be a 10-team World Cup. After all the hard work we’ve done, it’s a rough one to take. It’s a tough pill to swallow right now.”
And he’s right. Scotland were one of the stories of this tournament and they thrilled everyone with their brand of cricket that saw them go undefeated in the group stage. Normally, a sport would welcome such an enterprising display from a team that has been constantly improving, at the biggest event of the sport.
But not if the sport is spelled C-R-I-C-K-E-T and governed by a body hell-bent on shrinking the game rather than expanding it.
The ICC’s decision to reduce the World Cup to 10 teams looked daft when it was announced, it looked even more daft on Wednesday.
Twitter was abuzz with criticism for the world body, for not just making the World Cup a 10-team event, but for organising such a crucial tournament without DRS and reserve days.
As always, cricket governance continues to confound logic.