Zimbabwe’s hopes for 2019 Cricket World Cup dim with loss to UAE

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Zimbabwean batsman Graemme Creamer is bowled out during their World Cup qualifying match against UAE at Harare Sports Club. Photo: AP

United Arab Emirates secured a surprise three run win via the Duckworth/Lewis method to all but end Zimbabwe’s hopes of reaching the 2019 World Cup on Thursday.

The loss could leave Zimbabwe out of the Cricket World Cup for the first time since 1983.

Zimbabwe can only sit back and wait to see what happens in the Ireland-Afghanistan encounter. The winner of that contest will reach the 2019 event.

If the Ireland-Afghanistan match ends in a tie (with each side having batted for at least 25 overs), Zimbabwe can qualify for the World Cup as Ireland’s net run-rate will drop behind the African nation.

If Friday’s fixture is a washout, Ireland qualifies for next year’s finals.

Hosts England and the top seven other teams in the ICC ODI Championship on September 30 last year automatically made the cut for the 2019 event.

Chasing a rain-reduced total of 230 in 40 overs at the Harare Sports Club, Zimbabwe could only manage 226 for seven despite a run-a-ball 80 from Sean Williams.

But that provided little comfort to Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer.

“We lost wickets in crucial periods,” Cremer said at the presentation ceremony.

“Taking nothing away from UAE, they bowled and fielded excellently. We’ll pick ourselves up soon, but right now it doesn’t feel too good.”

Zimbabwe won the toss and restricted UAE to 235 for seven in 47.5 overs before rain brought a premature end to the innings.

When play was able to resume, Zimbabwe were set a revised target of 230 in 40 overs, but they battled from the start as Mohammad Naveed (3-40) picked up the early wickets of Solomon Mire (6) and Hamilton Masakadza (7).

Williams kept them in the fight, and when he was out with Zimbabwe needing another 24 from 18 balls, they were still in the contest.

But some tight bowling left them needing 15 off Naveed’s final over, which was reduced to seven from two balls. The UAE seamer held his nerve to deny their hosts.

The last-placed UAE enjoyed its first win in the round-robin.

“It’s a big win for us, beating a test team,” captain Rohan Mustafa said. “No one knew about us, now they’ll know about us. Feel sorry for Zimbabwe, but that’s sport.”

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