West Indies needed a win against the Scots to keep their slim qualification hopes alive but were bowled out for 181. Riding on Matthew Cross and Brandon McMullen knocks, Scotland chased down the target with 6.3 overs to spare.
The champions of 1975 and 1979 editions, this is the first time in the 48 years of tournament history that West Indies won’t feature among the top 10 teams in limited overs cricket. It was also Scotland’s first-ever win over the Caribbean side in the ODIs.
As It Happened
On Saturday, the West Indies once again produced a dismal show with the bat — 181 all-out in 43.5 overs — and Scotland showed no qualms in knocking off the target to win with seven wickets in hand and pile up further ignominy on the two-time world champions.
Matthew Cross (74 not out off 107 balls) anchored the chase perfectly and it always seemed one team would win and that certainly wasn’t the West Indies.
With two more matches left, even if West Indies win, they can reach up to four points while Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe already have six points in their three games.
Scotland with this win are on four points and would reckon that an upset can help them sneak into the tournament-proper.
It appears to be the final nail in the coffin for a cricket team that has been on a terminal decline for the past two decades.
While they won two T20 World Cup titles in 2012 and 2016, the performance in two traditional formats — Tests and ODIs have spiralled southwards.
Ironically, West Indies were forced to play the qualifier before the 2019 World Cup also but eventually managed to finish in top two along with Afghanistan to save themselves from embarrassment.
But a team that had Nicholas Pooran, a Rs 16 crore IPL recruit, Jason Holder, Kyle Mayers, Alzarri Joseph, Romario Shepherd, Akeal Hossein, all who were part of this edition’s IPL, in its ranks, this is certainly the lowest ebb.
Perhaps the performance is symptomatic of times which is very different from the 1970s when some of the wold class cricketers from Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Antigua, Trinidad & Tobago came together and were the flag-bearers of ‘Black Caribbean Community’ which had been under oppression for the longest time.
The brilliant documentary ‘Fire in Babylon’ showed what West Indies cricket meant, it wasn’t just flair, fun and frolic but also a responsibility towards community.
It showed how the team came together after England captain Tony Greig commented before the 1976 series that he would make them ‘grovel’, a derogatory term used for ‘Black Community’ referring to slavery.
Michael Holding spit fire at the Oval and Viv Richards scored a near triple hundred.
Their brand of cricket helped them become world beaters in limited overs cricket, first 60 overs and then 50 overs as most of their top players played in county or league cricket in England.
But call it a sign of times, the fire has extinguished and in last decade has seen the emergence of highly-skilled T20 mercenaries or Gun for Hire as one can refer to them, who haven’t exactly been bothered about the national cricket team’s benefit.
Perhaps the concept of multiple nations, playing under one flag is flawed in today’s day and age.
What has also adversely contributed is the riches that accompanies T20 cricket caravan wherever it sets its base. The leagues have made it virtually impossible to have a quality West Indies team that is proud of wearing the iconic maroon jersey.
Call it an irony that during the tournament in Zimbabwe, the man who donned coach’s hat was none other than last global trophy winning skipper Darren Sammy,whose heart still bleeds for the West Indies.
In the commentary box was Carlos Brathwaite, who hit those four incredible sixes on that fateful night in Kolkata, seven seasons back to win the 2016 T20 World Cup for the Caribbean side.
The Richards, the Lloyds, the Holdings, the Roberts, the Garners, their legacy lay in tatters, scattered across the lush green turf of Harare Sports Club ground on July 1.
The Kieron Pollards, Dwayne Bravos, Andre Russells, Sunil Narines have time and again refused to play for the West Indies as international cricket couldn’t have secured a future that they aspired for their families. So West Indies cricket lived in a comatose state.
On Saturday, Scotland just removed the ‘patient’ from ventilator.
West Indies cricket is dead. Long Live West Indies cricket.
(With inputs from PTI)