West Indies qualify for Cricket World Cup as rain sinks unlucky Scotland

West Indies players celebrate the wicket of Scotland Batsman Mathew Cross, foreground, during their Cricket World Cup qualifier match at Harare Sports Club, Wednesday, March, 21, 2018. (AP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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West Indies qualify for Cricket World Cup as rain sinks unlucky Scotland

HARARE, Zimbabwe: West Indies has qualified for next year’s Cricket World Cup, sneaking through by beating Scotland in a heartbreaking finish to a match where rain stopped play with the Scots only just short of the run rate they needed to go through.
Chasing 199 to win, Scotland were 125-5 in the 36th over when the rain came on Wednesday. That gave West Indies a five-run victory on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method. West Indies are the second-last team to secure a place at the World Cup in England and Wales.
One last place will be won at the ICC’s qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe. The host nation can secure it with victory over the UAE on Thursday.
West Indies began their decisive game against Scotland by losing Chris Gayle with the first ball of the match. Evin Lewis and Marlon Samuels made half-centuries to take the two-time World Cup winner to 198 all out, a respectable and ultimately winning total.


Juan Antonio Pizzi tells Saudi Arabia to improve or forget about beating Japan

Updated 18 January 2019
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Juan Antonio Pizzi tells Saudi Arabia to improve or forget about beating Japan

  • Green Falcons face tough route to final starting with Japan in the second round on Monday.
  • Coach warns players they have no chance of ultimate glory unless they go up a gear in the UAE.

LONDON: Juan Antonio Pizzi has told his Green Falcons they will have to learn the lessons of their defeat to Qatar if they are to have a chance of beating Japan in the second round.
Pizzi’s players went into the Group E clash already assured of a place in the knockout stages, having beaten North Korea and Lebanon in their first two marches. But the prospect of topping the pool and avoiding four-time champions Japan was still motivation enough to avoid temptation to treat the Qatar match as a dead rubber.
In a lackluster performance — a marked contrast to the energy and creativity of their first two matches — the Green Falcons failed to impose themselves in the game and paid the price when two Almoez Ali goals gave the win and points to Qatar.
That left Pizzi annoyed, warning his players they cannot afford to make the same mistakes against Japan.
“We tried to impose our style of play on Qatar, but our finishing and our ability to make the right decisions at crucial moments were not there tonight,” Pizzi said.
“We were good in the first 30 minutes, but an individual error for the first goal and then another mistake from a set-piece saw us concede twice.
“I am just starting to think of the game versus Japan. As I have stated before, I respect all of the teams that are here and do not feel either superior or inferior to anyone.
“It is now important for us to learn from the mistakes we made against Qatar and perform better when we play Japan.”
The first rule of any tournament is to get through to the knockout stages. That Saudi Arabia have managed that, having failed in the 2011 and 2015 editions, is a success. Add to that the fact they qualified for their first World Cup in 12 years last year, and it is clear that Pizzi’s team is still one on the up.
If there is a positive to take out of the Qatar defeat it is that the side’s first poor performance in the tournament came in a group match having already made it through, rather than in a winner-takes-all encounter such as the one they face against the Blue Samurai in Sharjah on Monday.
“We will bounce back. I don’t feel that we are not as good as (Japan) in any way,” Pizzi said.