HARARE, Zimbabwe (CMC) — Head coach Stuart Law has dedicated West Indies’ successful World Cup qualification to Caribbean fans, and said they had been had the forefront of the players minds throughout the tournament.
The Caribbean side ensured their place at the 2019 showpiece in England next year by edging Scotland by five runs under under Duckworth-Lewis-Stern, after rain washed out their final Super Six match of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.
“There are a lot of people who support us back home and wishing us very well and this is for them,” Law said following the triumph.
“The boys have worked extremely hard to get where they are. They don’t like missing out on practice, they don’t like doing less work – they like to work and that’s essentially paid off in this tournament.
“They’ve spilt blood for the people back home and I’m really happy we can celebrate something when we get home.”
West Indies struggled in One-Day Internationals last year, winning just three times in 23 outings to miss out on automatic qualification for the World Cup.
Favourites to win the qualifying tournament here, West Indies navigated a few tough moments during the preliminaries to finish unbeaten. They were stunned by Afghanistan in their opening Super Six match to leave their qualification bid in peril before pulling out the stops to beat hosts Zimbabwe in a dramatic run chase to remain on course.
“The journey we have been on for the last year, we have had some bad times, some reasonable times,” the Australian recalled.
“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.”
West Indies knew they had a fight on their hands when impressive seamer Safyaan Sharif (3-27) struck twice with the new ball to reduce the Windies to two for two in the third over.
But opener Evin Lewis (64) and veteran stroke-maker Marlon Samuels (51) added 121 for the second wicket to repair the damage and help get the two-time former World champions up to 198.
Seamer Kemar Roach then also got early wickets to reduce Scotland to 25 for three in reply and though they recovered to be 125 for five in the 36th over, they were still short of the DLS par score of 130 when heavy rain ended the match prematurely.
Law praised his players for the way in which they had fought back after finding themselves behind.
“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,” he explained.
“Credit to Scotland. They fought hard too, and we were lucky enough to pick up a couple of wickets. [Ashley] Nurse, Kemar Roach and Jason Holder bowled their hearts out. All round [I am] very happy with where we are.”
He added: “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.”