Late evening of 12th March saw Zimbabwe and Scotland engage in a nerve-wrecking duel that ended in a tie thus marking a thrilling end to the World Cup Qualifier’s group stage matches. The tournament now moves into the Super Six stage which by 23rd March will give us the full line-up for the World Cup 2019.
The initial stage of the Qualifiers had two groups each consisting of five teams. All teams played four matches against the other teams in the group with the top three teams after these matches slated to move into the Super Six stage.
Group A of the Qualifiers had big names like West Indies and Ireland. The Netherlands, UAE and Papua New Gineua completed the line-up. The two-times World Cup winner had made its intentions clear well before the tournament began by proclaiming that the Windies will defeat everyone that comes in their way, which they did.
UAE emerged as the surprise package of this group as they surged ahead of the Netherlands on the back of a solid performance from their captain Rohan Mustafa. They will be tested severely in the Super Six stage.
The giant-killer in ODIs, Ireland finished second in the group after their sole loss to the mighty Windies. They have two points on their name moving ahead in the Super Six stage.
The depth of associate cricket was best observed in the Group B where Scotland first defeated the burly Afghan team and then almost defeated the Zimbabwean team ultimately snatching a tie. Zimbabwe and Scotland enter in the Super Six stage with three points on their name.
The biggest shock in the tournament was the under-par performance from the Afghan team. They go into the next round with no points on their name and with the need to win every match to harbor any further hopes. Nepal and Hong Kong have been eliminated.
The Super Six fixtures are as follows:
15 March: Match 1, Afghanistan v Windies, Harare Sports Club
15 March: Match 2, Scotland v UAE, Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo
16 March: Match 3, Zimbabwe v Ireland, Harare Sports Club
18 March: Match 4, Ireland v Scotland, Harare Sports Club
19 March: Match 5, Windies v Zimbabwe, Harare Sports Club
20 March: Match 6, Afghanistan v UAE, Old Hararians Sports Club
21 March: Match 7, Scotland v Windies, Harare Sports Club
22 March: Match 8, Zimbabwe v UAE, Harare Sports Club
23 March: Match 9, Afghanistan v Ireland, Harare Sports Club