The West Indies, the only side to have won the World Cup twice, are out of this year’s competition and are heading home after being thrashed by Ireland in a must-win game for both teams in Hobart.
It is the first time they have failed to qualify for the main phase of a World Cup. Now the inquests will begin for the Caribbean side who had begun the tournament with a shock loss to Scotland, before victory against Zimbabwe had revived their hopes of qualifying.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe beat Scotland in the other group game by five wickets. The victory was enough for them to top the group, with Ireland qualifying alongside them. Scotland will join the West Indies in the departure lounge.
A dismal day for West Indies cricket’
The West Indies were not in good form coming into the competition, and their plans were thrown into further disarray when Shimron Hetmyer was dropped for missing his flight to Australia. Despite that, they were still favourites to progress from the group, but were shocked by the Scots with critics accusing the team of a lack of professionalism.
Victory over Zimbabwe papered over the cracks, but Ireland brutally exposed them again.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat first, the West Indies lost opener Kyle Mayers early and struggled to score quickly against the Irish bowlers. They were heavily reliant on an innings of 62 not out from Brandon King, made off 48 balls, and featuring a six and 6 fours, to give their scorecard an air of respectability, but still there remained the suspicion that a score of 146/5 was not going to be enough.
That became abundantly clear when the Irish opening pair of Paul Stirling and his captain Andrew Balbirnie put on 723 for the first wicket in less than 8 overs. Balbirnie was dismissed for 37, but Stirling was joined at the crease by Lorcan Tucker, and the pair just took the match away from their opponents.
They shared an unbeaten stand of 77, and reached their target with 15 balls to spare, winning by 9 wickets.
Stirling was 88 not out at the end, having faced 48 balls and struck 2 sixes and 6 fours. Tucker for his part was undefeated on 45. He had faced 35 deliveries and produced 2 sixes and 2 fours of his own.
Ireland can now look forward to the Super 12 stage of the competition, The West Indies meanwhile have a lot of questions to answer, and the recriminations, which are likely to long and loud, have already begun.
Zimbabwe overcome the Scots
It was another must win game for both teams as Scotland and Zimbabwe went into their match with a record of played one and lost one so far in Australia.
Scotland won the toss and decided into bat, but got off to a poor start and lost two quick wickets, before George Munsey helped rebuild the innings, eventually making 54, include 7 fours.
However, tight bowling from the Zimbabwe side restricted them to 132/6 from their 20 overs, and there was always the suspicion that was just not enough.
And so it proved, although Zimbabwe gave themselves a scare when they lost three early wickets of their won. However, the partnership of captain Craig Ervine and Sikandar Raza of 63\4 for the fourth wicket proved vital in the context of the match, and brought their side within sight of the finishing line.
Both fell before the end, Raza for 40 and Ervine for 58, but they had more than done their job and, in the end, Zimbabwe won by five wickets with nine balls to spare.
What this all means
The net result of those two matches is that Zimbabwe have finished as group winners, and will now head into the Super 12 stage of the competition alongside the Irish, who finished level on the dame number of points as them, but with an Inferior Net Run Rate.
Zimbabwe will now join the teams in Group 2, alongside Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and the Netherlands (who claimed their own place yesterday). They will play their first match in that stage of the competition against South Africa in Hobart on Monday.
The Irish meanwhile, find themselves in Group 1, where their opponents will be Australia, England, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, who they will play in their first match in Hobart on Sunday.
The West Indies and Scotland are heading for home.
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