West Indies needed a win against the Scots to keep alive their slim hopes of qualification but were bowled out for 181. Riding on the strikes of Matthew Cross and Brandon McMullen, Scotland chased down the target in 6.3 overs.
Champions of the 1975 and 1979 editions, this is the first time in the tournament’s 48-year history that the West Indies will not feature among the top 10 teams in limited-overs cricket. It was also Scotland’s first win over a Caribbean side in 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 to win with seven wickets in hand and pile further infamy on the two – world time champions.
Matthew Cross (74 off 107 balls) anchored the chase perfectly and it always looked like one team was going to win and it certainly wasn’t the West Indies.
With two more matches to go, even if the West Indies win, they can reach four points while Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe already have six points from their three games.
Scotland with this win are on four points and would reckon 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 definite decline for the past two decades.
While they won two T20 World Cup titles in 2012 and 2016, performances in two traditional formats — Tests and ODIs have gone south.
Ironically, West Indies were forced to play the qualifier before the 2019 World Cup, but eventually managed to finish in the top two along with Afghanistan to save themselves from embarrassment.
But a team that had in its ranks Nicholas Pooran, an IPL Rs 16 crore, Jason Holder, Kyle Mayers, Alzarri Joseph, Romario Shepherd, Akeal Hossein, everyone who was part of this edition’s IPL, this is definitely the lowest ebb.
Perhaps the performance is symptomatic of an era that is very different from the 1970s, when some of the cricketers from Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Antigua, Trinidad & Tobago joined together and were the standard-bearers of the ‘Community of Black Caribbean” which had been under oppression for the longest period of time.
The brilliant documentary ‘Fire in Babylon’ showed what West Indies cricket was all about, it was not just fun, entertainment and celebration but also a responsibility towards the community.
It showed how the team came together after England captain Tony Greig commented before the 1976 series that he would “grovel” them, a pejorative term used for the “Black Community” referring to slavery.
Michael Holding set the Oval on fire and Viv Richards scored nearly three hundred.
Their brand of cricket helped them become world champions 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 the weather, the fire has gone out and the last decade has seen the emergence of highly skilled T20 mercenaries or Gun for Hire as one may refer to them, who have not exactly been bothered for the benefit of the national cricket team.
Maybe the concept of multiple nations, playing under one flag is wrong in this day and age.
What has also contributed negatively is the wealth that accompanies the T20 cricket caravan wherever it sets up base. The leagues have made it almost impossible to have a quality West Indies team proud to wear the iconic maroon jersey.
Call it irony that during the Zimbabwe tournament, the man who donned the coach’s hat was none other than the last World Cup-winning skipper Darren Sammy, whose heart still bleeds for the West Indies.
In the commentary box was Carlos Brathwaite, who hit those four unbelievable sixes on that fateful night in Kolkata, seven seasons back to win the 2016 T20 World Cup for the Caribbean team.
The Richards, the Lloyds, the Holdings, the Roberts, the Garners, their legacies were tattered, strewn across the green turf of the Harare Sports Club ground on July 1.
Kieron Pollards, Dwayne Bravos, Andre Russells, Sunil Narines have repeatedly refused to play for the West Indies as international cricket could not secure a future they aspired for their families. So West Indies cricket was living in a comatose state.
On Saturday, Scotland just took the ‘patient’ off the ventilator.
West Indies cricket is dead. Long live West Indies cricket.
(With inputs from PTI)
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