• T&T win Regional Under-19 Girls Tournament again

    COUVA, Trinidad – A half-century from opener Shania Abdool propelled Trinidad & Tobago to an eight-wicket victory over Windward Islands to lift the Cricket West Indies-sanctioned Regional Under-19 Girls’ Invitational Twenty20 Tournament title on Sunday. 

    Abdool struck half-dozen boundaries in an unbeaten 57 from 54 balls to earn the Player-of-the-Match award and lead T&T successfully past a victory target of 93 with 34 balls remaining in the Grand Final at the National Cricket Centre. 

    She dominated a first wicket stand of 54 before fellow opener Djenaba Joseph and Alysha Gomez fell cheaply, and remained to carry the hosts the rest of the way to their target, allowing them to repeat as title-holders.

    Earlier, Windwards, sent in to bat, were restricted to 92 for nine from their allocation of 20 overs with no batsman reaching 20.

    Leandra Ramdeen was the most successful T&T bowler with 3-11 from her allotted four overs.

    At the nearby Gilbert Park, Guyana followed up steady batting – led by Shakiba Gajnabi and Casey Charles – to post a 55-run victory over Barbados in the Consolation Final to finish in third place.

    Gajnabi hit six fours in a run-a-ball top score of 48 and Charles collected five fours in 31 from 33 balls to lead the Guyanese to 130 for six from their 20 overs, after they chose to bat.

    The pair shared 68 for the fourth wicket, but no other player reached double figures.

    Though they kept wickets in hand, the Barbadians never seriously challenged the asking rate and never came close to overhauling their target, as no batsman reached 20.

  • WINDIES squad for T20I Series in Pakistan

    ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Cricket West Indies (CWI) has confirmed the 13-member WINDIES squad for the imminent Tour of Pakistan which features three Twenty20 Internationals on April 1, 2 and 3 in Karachi.

    SQUAD

    Jason Mohammed (Captain)

    Samuel Badree

    Rayad Emrit

    Andre Fletcher

    Andre McCarthy

    Keemo Paul

    Veerasammy Permaul

    Rovman Powell

    Denesh Ramdin

    Marlon Samuels

    Odean Smith

    Chadwick Walton

    Kesrick Williams

    Team Management Unit

    Stuart Law (Head Coach)

    Alfonso Thomas (Assistant Coach)

    Ryan Maron (Assistant Coach)

    Vernon “Khevyn” Williams (Physiotherapist)

    Dexter Augustus (Video Data Analyst)

    CWI Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams, and President and Chief Executive Officer of West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA), Wavell Hinds, will accompany the squad on the trip.

    Commenting on the Tour, CWI Chief Executive Officer, Jonny Grave, said: “Following the successful hosting of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Final in Karachi on the weekend, our squad are now en route to Pakistan for our three-match T20I series. 

    “This Tour is a further major step for our friends at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to bring their cricket back home, and we are pleased that our players and support staff have recognised this and supported this venture.”

    Grave added: “Independent security advisors, Eastern Star International (ESI) have confirmed to both CWI and WIPA that they are satisfied that the risk is manageable and can be mitigated to an acceptable level.

    “We have made it very clear to the players and support staff that had personal reservations about this Tour that we fully understand and accept their position.”

    Commenting on the selection of the squad, Chairman of the CWI Selection Panel, Courtney Browne, said a few of the players identified for selection, including regular T20I captain Carlos Brathwaite, had opted out of this Tour, due to security concerns, but feels their replacements have a great opportunity to push their claims for future selection.

    “We had a few players that opted not to tour Pakistan, due to their or their families’ security concerns and CWI have fully accepted their position,” said Browne.

    “This series, therefore, provides opportunities for new players to state their claim for a regular place in the team, plus gain vital experience in different conditions. We expect the series to be highly competitive.”

    On the choice of Jason Mohammed as captain, Browne said: “Jason is our One-day International vice-captain, and he has been asked to step up and lead the team with the unavailability of Carlos. He has lots of captaincy experience at first-class level.”

    There are four uncapped T20I players in the squad – two of whom have been picked for the first time in a senior international squad, plus two with previous international experience in other formats.

    Batsman Andre McCarthy and Jamaica Scorpions teammate, fast bowler Odean Smith, a member of the 2016 WINDIES Under-19 ICC Youth World Cup-winning squad, are in a senior WINDIES squad for the first time.

    Left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul has played Tests and One-day Internationals, and Guyana Jaguars teammate, all-rounder Keemo Paul, another member of the 2016 WINDIES Under-19 ICC Youth World Cup-winning squad, is selected after his very promising ODI debut performances during the ICC World Cup Qualifier 2018 in Zimbabwe.

    “Smith and McCarthy are currently in our WINDIES ‘A’ programme and we believe this experience will be of benefit to them,” said Browne.

    “Smith has good pace and has shown good potential as a fast bowler. McCarthy is a talented batsman who has made progress in white-ball cricket.”

    Browne added: “Paul has really grasped his opportunity following a strong showing in the Super50, the WINDIES ‘A’ series victories against England Lions and he has grabbed his opportunity at international level.  His performances during the ICC World Cup Qualifiers were both exciting and composed and he gets a chance to build on these with his selection for Pakistan.

    “Permaul has already had a few opportunities at international level, so he is no stranger to international cricket. He has never played IT20s however, and this will be a welcome opportunity for him to show another dimension to his game.”

    On the recall of Ramdin to the squad, Browne said: “Denesh brings a lot of experience and an opportunity to restart his international career. While he will be the primary wicketkeeper in the squad, we also have available Chadwick Walton and Andre Fletcher as back up.”

  • Windies come up short as clinical Afghans lift title

    HARARE, Zimbabwe, CMC – Favourites West Indies failed in their bid to put the finishing touches on an otherwise successful campaign as memeses Afghanistan trounced them by seven wickets here Sunday to lift the ICC World Cup Qualifiers trophy.

    Hoping for revenge in the final at Harare Sports Club after two losses in the competition to the Asian side, West Indies never mounted a serious challenge, dismissed for 204 and then watching as Afghanistan strolled to their target with nearly 10 overs remaining.

    Opting to bat first, the Caribbean side were coasting at 73 for two in the 18th over before slumping to lose their last eight wickets for 131 runs.

    All-rounder Rovman Powell top-scored with 44, left-hander Shimron Hetmyer chipped in with 38 while Evin Lewis got 27 and Ashley Nurse struck an unbeaten 26 towards the end.

    Sixteen-year-old off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was again brilliant with the new ball, taking four for 43 while seamer Gulbadin Naib picked up two for 28.

    Man-of-the-Match Mohammad Shahzad then took the game from the Windies with a typically aggressive 84 off 93 balls, as Aghanistan dominated the early stages of the innings to put the result beyond doubt.

    Rahmat Shah weighed in with 51 while Mohammed Nabi arrived with victory already in sight to blast a cameo unbeaten 27, ending the contest in style with three successsive sixes down the ground off part-time off-spinner Chris Gayle.

    The victory completed a fairy-tale turnaround for the Phil Simmons-coached side who had barely squeezed into the second stage of the tournament after winning just a single match in the preliminaries.

    Buoyed by a warm-up and Super Six victory over the Windies already in the tournament, Afghanistan started positively when Mujeeb claimed talismanic opener Chris Gayle for 10 in the sixth over, caught by Sharafuddin Ashraf running around from point after mis-cuing one that spun across him.

    The left-handed Lewis then stroked six fours in a fluent 36-ball knock in adding 34 for the second wicket with Shai Hope (23) to stabilise the innings.

    However, Lewis departed in the 11th over, caught at the wicket nicking a booming drive at Gulbadin Naib and Marlon Samuels lasted 26 deliveires for his 17 before smashing a short one from the same bowler to Rahmat Shah at short mid-wicket in the 18th over.

    Hope posted 26 with Hetmyer for the fourth wicket but was one of two wickets to fall in quick succession as West Indies slipped to 101 for five in the 24th over.

    The right-handed Hope missed a pull at a googly from Rashid Khan and was lbw in the 23rd over and captain Jason Holder was run out at the non-striker’s end two balls later in the next over, failing to regain his ground after backing up too far for a third run.

    It was left for Powell to revitalise the innings, posting 37 for the sixth wicket with Hetmyer before putting on a further 41 for the eighth with Nurse.

    Hetmyer, who faced 51 balls and counted three fours, eventually perished when he edged left-arm spinner Sharafuddin Ashraf behind in the 33rd over and Carlos Brathwaite belted a four and a six in 14 before holing out to mid-off off speedster Dawlat Zadran.

    Powell ensured the Windies got runs down the order, however, facing 75 balls and striking a four and a couple of sixes while Nurse counted three fours in a 29-ball knock.

    Once Powell missed a heave at Mujeeb and lost his off-stump, the last three wickets tumbled without a run added.

    Any hopes the Windies had of an early breakthrough were then dashed as Shahzad anchored two half-century parnterships up front, to guarantee the Afghan side a solid start to their run chase.

    The right-hander blasted 11 fours and two sixes, adding a run-a-ball 58 for the first wicket with Gulbadin (14) before posting another 90 for the second wicket with Rahmat Shah.

    Gulbadin was first to fall, edging a wide one from seamer Keemo Paul to Gayle at slip in the 10th over before Shahzad, with a century in sight, whacked an innocuous delivery from Gayle to mid-off where Holder took a simple catch.

    Rahmat completed a deserved half-century, striking four fours off 78 deliveries and seemed intent on seeing Afghanistan home but missed a charge at Gayle and was easily stumped by hope in the 37th.

    Even then there was no cause for alarm as Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari (20 not out) formalised the win in an unbroken 36-run partnership.

  • New Zealand White Ferns take T20 series 4-0

    HAMILTON, New Zealand- The WINDIES Women have concluded their tour of New Zealand with a 7-wicket defeat in the 5th T20 International versus New Zealand White Ferns to lose the series 4-0 at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

    For only the second time in seven matches, White Ferns Captain, Suzie Bates won the toss and sent the WINDIES women in to bat first on a hot and sunny day in Hamilton.

    The defending ICC World T20 Champions had the perfect start when openers, Captain Stafanie Taylor and Hayley Matthews began smashing the ball around the Park, for the fastest opening runs of the WINDIES Women tour. 50 runs came in just 19 minutes from 30 deliveries.

    The determination and urgency to finish the tour on a winning note was evident when Taylor and Matthews dispatched Lea Tahuhu for 2 fours in the opening over. Then Matthews took 14 runs from Hannah Rowe in the 2 over, which included 3 consecutive boundaries.

    Captain Taylor also stamped her name on the game, taking 9 runs from Tahuhu’s second over, carting her for six from a flick off her legs.

    Sophie Devine also felt the brunt of Matthews’ bat. The youngster looked fearless hitting a six and four back to back.

    The WINDIES Women openers found a rhythm and looked set to post a mammoth target for the hosts. That was until the 8th over when the ever-dangerous Leigh Kasperek had Matthews caught for 40, just when she looked set to get a second half-century during this T20 series.

    The broken partnership dramatically slowed down the WINDIES Women scoring, as Captain Taylor then had to take charge and steer the innings back on course.

    Chedean Nation made 6 before she was caught behind off Tahuhu. Taylor carried on, now joined by Dottin and the pair took the quick singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

    Upon the start of this T20 series, Stafanie Taylor was 81 runs from becoming the highest runs-scorer in women’s T20 cricket. Today Sophie Devine had her caught at long-off for 42, still 24 runs short of topping the list of most women’s T20 career runs.

    Deandra Dottin was the only other batter to reach double figures, smashing 5 fours on her way to 33.

    WINDIES Women posted 139/5 from their 20 overs. Bowling for the White Ferns, Leigh Kasperek took 2/19 followed by Lea Tahuhu with 2/27.

    New Zealand switched up the opening pair, with Natalie Dodd and Sophie Devine taking first strike.

    Connell started off the opening over with a wide then Dodd punished her with 2 boundaries, but Connell had the last laugh as Dodd was caught behind for 8.

    Devine then reciprocated with her bat against Hayley Matthews in the second over, hitting a six and four. Matthews conceded 14 runs in her opening over.

    Connell then returned and swung the match back in favour of the WINDIES Women. She removed Maddy Green for 3 and Devine for 15. This had New Zealand women reeling on 27/3 in the 3rd over.

    The WINDIES Women’s bowlers then lost the momentum. Amy Satterthwaite and Katey Martin dropped anchor and rebuilt the White Ferns innings.

    Wayward bowling and slow fielding costed the WINDIES Women the match as the Satterthwaite/Martin combination was speeding towards the target.

    Stafanie Taylor introduced herself into the attack to try and stem the flow of runs. However, the support she had from her bowlers in the previous match was not to be in this game.

    Martin brought up another half-century for this T20 series, she finished the match on 54 not out which included 10 fours, while Amy Satterthwaite was on 43 not out.

    The New Zealand White Ferns reached the target of 140/3 in 16.2 overs. WINDIES Women’s bowler, Shamilia Connell had figures of 3/35.

    Speaking after the match, WINDIES Women Captain Stafanie Taylor said the team’s performance in New Zealand had improved compared to the last time they toured, despite losing both the ODI and T20 series, 3-0 and 4-0 respectively and they will build on the improvements.

    “We just have to use this tour as a stepping stone as we have the World Cup coming up in November and we’re defending our title at home. I’m hoping we have a tour and a camp for a few months to help increase our preparations as a team since we all live in different territories.”

    Katey Martin was Player of the Match and Player of the Series

  • WINDIES aim to settle scores with Afghanistan in final

    The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 will have new winners on Sunday when number one seeds the Windies and second-seeded Afghanistan will face each other in the final before broadcast cameras at the Harare Sports Club.

    This is the Windies’ maiden appearance in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier after they failed to qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 by finishing outside the top eight on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings at the 30 September 2017 cut-off.

    Afghanistan played in the qualifiers in 2009 in South Africa and finished fifth, but didn’t compete in the 2014 qualifier after having progressed to the 2015 World Cup by virtue of finishing second to Ireland in the ICC World Cricket League Championship.

    Sunday’s winners will join Sri Lanka (1979), Zimbabwe (1982, 1986 and 1990), United Arab Emirates (1994), Bangladesh (1997), Netherlands (2001), Scotland (2005 and 2014) and Ireland (2009) to lift the silverware of one of the most competitive and keenly-contested tournaments on the cricket calendar.

    Both the Windies and Afghanistan have already qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, to be staged in England and Wales from 30 May to 14 July, but Sunday’s final is expected to be another cut-throat match for a number of reasons.

    The Windies, two-time former world champions, are yet to beat Afghanistan in this tournament, having lost their warm-up match by 29 runs after Dawlat Zadran’s hat-trick, while in the Super Six encounter, Afghanistan prevailed over the Caribbean side by three wickets following Mujeeb Rahman’s three for 33 and Rahmat Shah’s 68.

    Rashid Khan, the world number-one ranked bowler, is just one wicket away from becoming the fastest to 100 wickets. He presently has 99 wickets from 43 ODIs, while Mitchell Starc achieved the 100-wicket milestone in his 52nd ODI.

    On a head to head, Afghanistan lead the Windies 2-1, while their one match in St Lucia was a no-result.

    Looking ahead to the final, the Windies captain Jason Holder said: “Obviously, it’s a good opportunity to win the tournament. We felt we have done some really good things so far, we’ve obviously qualified for the World Cup, which was our first priority and obviously, coming into the final, it means a lot to us to finish off the tournament well and win it.

    “I don’t think we have played the perfect game as yet. We’ve done some really good things but I don’t think we have strung together the performances in batting, bowling and fielding, so that is my challenge to get into this last encounter, to end this tour on a high and win this final.”

    Reflecting on the tournament, Holder said: “This has been a really good tournament, highly competitive, actually quite shocked by the level of competition here in the qualifiers. Most of the teams were quite evenly matched and we had some really close encounters and most of the games were thrilling. That is good for cricket, says a lot about world cricket and the standard of cricket.”

    Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai said Sunday’s match was the biggest for his country and his side was looking forward to it very keenly. “A final against the Windies, a side we all followed as young kids. I don’t think it can get any bigger for Afghanistan.

    “For Afghanistan, the World Cup qualifier is a mini-World Cup and having now qualified for the World Cup, the target is to win this trophy and take it back to Kabul. The people of Afghanistan want to see this trophy in Afghanistan and we’ll leave no stone unturned in our efforts to fulfil their wishes,” he said.

    Asghar said his team would like to carry the momentum against the Windies into the final.

    “We have beaten them twice in this tournament. We beat them once in their backyard. So, the momentum is with us and we’d like to take it into the final. The Windies are a great side, a side which has done more for cricket than any other cricket team. We have the highest respect for them, but at the same time, we will not be overawed by them and will try to win tomorrow.

    “Our spinners are the best in the world. They not only showed their magic against the Windies in the Super Six, but in other matches. I think we lost matches in the tournament not because of them but because of change in captaincy due to my absence. Except once, I don’t remember when any side chased down 250 plus against us, until Scotland did this in Bulawayo.

    “I would have never returned to the side if we were not in this situation. I am still 50 per cent fit and yesterday was almost on the verge of collapsing because the internal wounds are still fresh and have not healed properly. But my return has helped the spinners as they now feel more comfortable, while Rashid can concentrate on his bowling rather than thinking about game plans.”

    The Windies’ charismatic Chris Gayle said Sunday’s match will be his final appearance in Zimbabwe and he wanted to finish on a high.

    “It will be nice to actually finish playing in Harare to be honest. I hope it will be a full house and fans here in Zimbabwe are fantastic.

    “The way they rock to the tunes in the stand and they cheer, I absolutely love it you know, one of the best fun zone or fun base that I have actually played in front of, I mean Zimbabwe, the South Africa dance and they love the beats, I have got to take back the music for sure,” said Gayle, who has played 12 of his 280 ODIs at the Harare Sports Club, scoring 435 runs with 112 not out against Zimbabwe in November 2003 as his highest

    Gayle, the 38-year-old attractive batsman, made his Test debut against Zimbabwe in Port of Spain in March 2000, while his first Test century (175) was also against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in July 2001. Overall, he played in eight Tests against Zimbabwe, scoring 498 runs with 175 as his highest.

    “Don’t worry I can dance, I will dance with them, I’ll interact with the crowd on Sunday as well, I will have some fun for sure,” said one of the world’s most destructive batsmen.

    Teams (to be selected from)

    AFGHANISTAN: Asghar Stanikzai (captain), Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Ihsanullah Janat, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad, Nasir Jamal, Javed Ahmadi, Mujeeb Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shenwari, Shahpoor Zadran and Sharafuddin Ashraf. Phil Simmons (coach)

    THE WINDIES: Jason Holder (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Nikita Miller, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels and Kesrick Williams. Stuart Law (coach)

    ON-FIELD UMPIRES: Michael Gough and Simon Fry

    THIRD UMPIRE: Paul Wilson

    FOURTH UMPIRE: Shaun George

    MATCH REFEREE: Graeme La Brooy

  • Eoin Morgan to captain ICC XI against Windies

    The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced that England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan will lead an ICC World XI in a T20I against the Windies at Lord’s on 31 May 2018. The game will raise funds for two stadia in the Caribbean that were damaged following Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year.

    Defending ICC World T20 Champions, the Windies will face what is expected to be a very strong World XI side with Morgan at the helm and the England captain is relishing the prospect: “I am delighted to captain the ICC World XI at Lord’s in May against the West Indies,” said Morgan.

    “The cricket family always comes together to support worthwhile causes and this one-off T20I, featuring some of the best players in the world will be a great spectacle at the home of cricket.

    “I am sure the sporting public will come out in force and help raise money and awareness towards restoring parts of the Caribbean hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September last year, which ripped through many communities in this beautiful part of the world.”

    Tickets for the match, which will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, are available from just £20 for adults and £10 for children at www.lords.org./tickets.

    Giles Clarke, the ECB President and ICC Director is leading the coordination of the match, supported by the ICC, ECB and MCC in partnership with Cricket West Indies. He said: “Two category 5 hurricanes in two weeks last year devastated parts of the Caribbean and the world of cricket was keen to show support with a fundraising initiative. What better way to do that than staging a world-class game at the Home of Cricket! 

    “Eoin Morgan as captain is a wonderful first name on the ICC World XI team sheet and in due course we’ll have more players from around the world lending their support to what I’m sure will be a highly entertaining and competitive day of cricket at Lord’s in May.”

  • Rain forces abandonment of Windies Women 4th T20I

    NEW PLYMOUTH, New Zealand- Continuous rainfall over a 24-hour period has forced Match Officials to call off the 4th T20 International on Thursday, March 22, between the WINDIES Women and New Zealand White Ferns, scheduled for Pukekura Park in New Plymouth. 

    An early morning inspection of the venue was done by Match Officials. Then at 1:00pm local time, the Captains and Coaches of both teams accompanied the Match Officials to the venue for a second inspection. It was then decided to call off the match as the rain was forecasted to continue falling thereby leaving no time to dry the playing surface before the stipulated cut-off time of 4:30pm local time. 

    WINDIES Women’s Captain Stafanie Taylor commented after, “It’s a bit disappointing having the match abandoned today because we felt like it would’ve been another close game and we were looking forward to getting that first win. But we’ll now switch our focus to the last match in Hamilton on Sunday and on finishing the tour on a winning note.”

    The White Ferns hold a 3-0 lead in the 5-match T20 International series.

  • CWI congratulates WINDIES Men for reaching ICC CWC 2019

    ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Cricket West Indies applauded the WINDIES Men’s team for securing a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 England & Wales.

    WINDIES Men qualified for the global showpiece with a five-run victory under the Duckworth/Lewis/Stern Method, after rain washed out the remainder of play with Scotland 125 for five from 35.2 overs, chasing 199 for victory, in the ICC World Cup Qualifier at the Harare Sports Club in Zimbabwe.

    “Qualification for the World Cup is great news for WINDIES Cricket, and on behalf of the Directors, Management and Staff of CWI, we want to applaud them for their efforts and thank our fans globally, who continue to stand by us,” said CWI President Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron.

    “We are grateful to every player that made the sacrifice and committed himself to this task of ensuring qualification under the leadership of Jason Holder, as well as the team management unit under Stuart Law, and their collective hard work over the last few weeks to ensure that this goal was achieved.

    “We look forward to their continued involvement, as we now set our sights on winning the World Cup.”

    Cameron said there was still some unfinished business in Zimbabwe and urged the team to win the Final of the qualification series on Sunday, as the first step to winning the World Cup.

    “Everything step we make from this point onwards must be to put the building blocks in place for us to be able to win the World Cup for a third time, next year,” said Cameron.

    “There would be no better place to win the World Cup than in England. We won the first two editions of the World Cup when they hosted it, and there is a strong and special connection in the game between there and the Caribbean.

    Cameron said there was a minimum of 20 One-day Internationals and another edition of the Super50 Cup, as well as other training and playing opportunities available to regional players to make a claim for a place in the World Cup squad.

    “Right now, I know there are a lot of WINDIES cricket fans in England and, indeed, the Caribbean keen on making plans to attend the World Cup matches and give the team their full support,” he said.

    “We want the players to use that knowledge and be inspired to perform to greater heights and use all of the opportunities provided to them over the next year to gear themselves towards a bigger and more rewarding prize – winning the World Cup.”

  • Gayle leads WINDIES celebrations after two-time former champions qualify for the World Cup

    Chris Gayle led the Windies’ celebrations after the two-time former world champions qualified for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup, which will take place in England and Wales from 30 May to 14 July.

    The Windies defeated Scotland by five runs by the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method on Wednesday after the defending champions were 125 for five in 34.2 overs, while chasing 199 for victory, when rain prevented any further play in what was turning into a thrilling match.

    Asked if he thought he had achieved his mission of coming to Zimbabwe to help the Windies qualify for the World Cup, Gayle said: “Mission accomplished, definitely. It has been a long journey and the process we have gone through to qualify, we still have to give thanks even though it was a rain interrupted game today, but a win is a win.

    “I am so happy to have qualified for another World Cup., I just have to stay fit now and we have a young team, but it will be my last World Cup that is for sure, so I am looking forward to it.”

    Gayle said he had thoroughly enjoyed the tournament and was delighted to see the passion amongst the Zimbabwe fans.

    “It has been a great tournament, the support here in Zimbabwe is always fantastic. It has been quite a while since I have been here, the people have been fantastic. We have come and accomplished what we came for.”

    Talking about his hunger for more success, Gayle said: “The fans drive you, people always say Chris we want to see you back in Windies colours, want to see you play Test cricket in the whites again and I say one more time I will do it for you guys.

    “I will take on the journey and next year will play for them again and I look forward to it.

    “I need a couple (of) months to get properly fit and especially I love playing in England and Wales. Lots of the Windies fans over the world are sad that we are in this position, where we have to play the qualifiers. But, cricket is like life, you have ups and downs, and nothing is guaranteed in life.”

    The Windies coach, Stuart Law, said: “The journey we have been on for the last year, we have had some bad times, some reasonable times. We came here to qualify for the World Cup, and we have played some pretty good cricket along the way. Today, we were pushed by Scotland, credit to them, they fought hard.”

    Law praised his players for the way they fought in Wednesday’s match.

    “For Marlon Samuels to come in at two for two and put on 121 runs was crucial once again. It would have been nice if Samuels or Evin Lewis had gone further into the innings, but they absorbed pressure and managed to get enough on the board.

    “Credit to Scotland. They fought hard too, and we were lucky enough to pick up a couple of wickets. Nurse, Kemar Roach and Jason Holder bowled their hearts out. All round very happy with where we are.

    “We can now sit down and plan for the Cricket World Cup which is good. We can get this out of the way and go home and start thinking about what we are going to do and how we are going to play in English conditions.”

    The Windies captain Jason Holder said the people of the Caribbean should be proud of his side.

    “I don’t think it (the qualification) has sunk in yet. We have been through a lot. We were bruised, we have been hurt and we have copped a lot of criticism in the past couple of years. To come into this competition, where there was so much pressure and to produce the cricket we have to qualify for the World Cup is pleasing.

    “I have been very anxious, and nervous, it has been the general feeling around the whole team. One thing is that we came together for the whole tournament, that was the determining factor, we wanted the same result and we were fighting for the same cause.

    “It is a great achievement to qualify for the Cricket World Cup, I pride myself on leading from the front and all the other guys have backed me up. The people in the West Indies should be really proud of us to qualify for the World Cup. It is the first time we have played in the Cricket World Cup Qualifier. To handle ourselves the way we did was really pleasing, I am sure everyone back home is smiling.”

    The Windies fast bowler Kemar Roach said it was a tough game and now he was looking forward to his third World Cup. “It was a tough game, 198 wasn’t enough, so we had belief and wanted to make it as tough as possible for the Scottish to win the game, the weather was in our favour today and we are into the finals.

    “It is my job and role to get wickets up front and I think I did a pretty good job today, could have been a little better, getting the win for the Windies was the most important thing.

    “Definitely looking forward to the ICC Cricket World Cup it will be my third World Cup, if I am selected, it will be a great honour for me to play in that, and we will have to work hard to bring it home. The pressure we put the people under back home is tough, I want to say sorry, but that is the West Indies, that’s how we play, we keep people on the edge of their seats.”

    Evin Lewis, who added 121 runs for the third wicket with Marlon Samuels, said: “It is a great feeling to qualify for the Cricket World Cup. We had a lot of pressure on us and we need to enjoy the moment. It is unfortunate to win by Duckworth-Lewis-Stern, but it is cricket and that happens.

    “Looking forward to the Cricket World Cup, I have never been to one, and we will do our best and hopefully we can reach the final. It is a dream for all cricketers to be in a Cricket World Cup and it means a lot to me, as it is something special.”

  • Windies qualify for 2019 Cricket World Cup

    Windies qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 after defeating defending champions 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 for a place in the World Cup, to be staged from 30 May to 14 July, 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.

    While the result ended Scotland’s hopes of featuring in their second successive World Cup and fourth overall since 1999, Afghanistan and Ireland are now back in contention if rain affects Thursday’s match between the United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe. If there is no result, then net run-rate will determine the second qualifier behind the Windies.

    In the Super Six winner-takes-all match, the Windies, put in to bat, lost Chris Gayle on the very first ball of the match, his seventh career golden duck, and then saw Shai Hope return to the pavilion 12 balls later to slip to two for two.

    Evin Lewis (66, 87b, 7×4, 2×6) and Marlon Samuels (51, 98b, 4×4) revived the Windies’ innings by adding 121 runs for the third wicket in 168 balls. But, as the Windies looked set to post a decent score, Lewis departed and 12 runs later Samuels and Shimron Hetmyer also returned to the hut.

    The Windies innings was wrapped up for 198 in 48.4 overs, with the last eight wickets falling for just 75 runs in close to 18 overs.

    Scotland bowlers maintained a very discipline line and length as is evident from the fact that they delivered 174 dot balls and conceded just 12 fours and three sixes. The most impressive of the lot was 26-year-old Safyaan Sharif who picked up the prized scalps of Gayle, Hope and Rovman Powell conceding 27 runs.

    Brad Wheal also rose to the occasion and bowled his heart out, to be rewarded with figures of three for 34, while off-spinner Michael Leask snapped up the wickets of Samuels and Hetmyer off successive deliveries to finish with two for 36.

    The Windies needed quick wickets to not only qualify for the World Cup but also end Scotland’s dreams of featuring in the ICC’s pinnacle 50-over event for the second successive time and fourth since 1999.

    And Kemar Roach obliged Jason Holder by accounting for the in-form Kyle Coetzer and Michael Jones, while the captain dismissed Matthew Cross as Scotland slipped to 25 for three.

    The Windies, sniffing a win, continued to apply pressure and were eventually rewarded at the score of 67 in the third over when Ashley Nurse brilliantly caught Calum MacLeod (21) off his own bowling to end the 42-run resistance and then dismissed Berrington (33) was adjudged leg before as Scotland slipped to 105 for five.

    George Munsey lived dangerously for his 32 not out and kept Scotland in the hunt for a place in the World Cup as they reached 125 for five, before Mother Nature smiled on the two-time former world champions as rain came down in force to end any chances of resumption.

    The victory by five runs meant the Windies finished the Super Six with maximum eight points and not only qualified for the World Cup but also qualified for the 25 March final where they will meet the other qualifier.

    For Scotland, it was a sad end to their World Cup aspirations despite being one of the most consistent sides in the tournament. They beat Afghanistan by seven wickets, Nepal by four wickets, tied with Zimbabwe and defeated the UAE by 73 runs, before losing a tight match to traditional rivals Ireland by 25 runs and by five runs to the Windies.

    Scores in brief

    Windies beat Scotland by five runs (Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method), Harare Sports Club

    Windies 198 all out, 48.4 overs (Evin Lewis 66, Marlon Samuels 51, Carlos Brathwaite 24; Safyaan Sharif 3-27, Brad Wheal 3-34, Michael Leask 2-36)

    Scotland 125-5, 35.2 overs (Richie Berrington 33, George Munsey 32 not out, Calum MacLeod 21; Kemar Roach 2-20, Ashley Nurse 2-35)