West Indies in danger of missing out on Cricket World Cup qualification

Super Six stage begins on Thursday with Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in best position to make the cut for 50-over showpiece event

Zimbabwe, right, have been in top form during the World Cup qualifiers while the West Indies have been well off the mark. AP
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West Indies enter the Super Six stage of the Cricket World Cup Qualifier with the distinct possibility of not making the cut for the main 50-over event in India.

Hosts Zimbabwe and former champions Sri Lanka are in prime position to clinch the final two qualifying spots for the tournament that will be staged from October 5 to November 19. But two-time champions the West Indies risk missing the tournament for the first time.

With four wins from four group matches, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka head into the Super Six stage - which begins on Thursday - with four points apiece, carrying over points earned for beating the teams that also advanced from the first round.

Backed by strong batting displays, which included making a national record 408-6 against the USA, Zimbabwe will be confident the runs will continue to flow.

The West Indies, though, are in dire straits after successive defeats to hosts Zimbabwe and the Netherlands, taking zero points into the next phase.

The loss to the Dutch was particularly painful as they first posted 374 before their opponents matched their score to force a Super Over. In it, Netherlands blasted 30 runs to secure victory.

The fallen giants, who won the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979, now need to beat Scotland, Oman and Sri Lanka and also hope other results go their way to stand a chance of qualifying.

"I understand the journey I have to take with this team," said coach Daren Sammy, who captained the West Indies to two T20 World Cup titles.

"Sometimes you've got to reach rock bottom to come back up. I understand the challenges ahead and I also understand that things will not change overnight.

"It's a true reflection of where our cricket is at the moment. We have a lot of work to do."

While the Caribbean side have struggled, 1996 champions Sri Lanka eased through group play largely untroubled but face a Dutch side on Friday buoyed by their astonishing victory over the West Indies.

Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga has bagged 18 wickets, emulating Pakistan great Waqar Younis with three consecutive five-wicket hauls in ODIs.

The Netherlands and Scotland will both start on two points. The Dutch have not featured at the finals since 2011 while the Scots missed out four years ago.

"We're good enough to compete against the best teams in the world; we're just getting better," said Logan van Beek, whose heroics on Monday stunned the West Indies.

"The more we play the best teams, the better we get. And more fun we get, the more players we get, and we deserve to be on that level."

Oman complete the Super Six line-up for an event which concludes with the final on July 9.

The UAE were hoping to make it to the main event in India but failed in their quest to secure qualification. Muhammad Waseem's team lost all four games during the opening stage.

The 50-over World Cup involves 10 teams, including two from the ongoing qualifiers. In all, 48 matches will be played in India with the opening match and the final taking place at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Updated: June 28, 2023, 12:06 PM