West Indies on the brink of 2019 World Cup after beating Zimbabwe in 'special team effort'

Man of the match Marlon Samuels top-scored and although his wicket triggered a mini-collapse, the Caribbean side had enough to claim victory

Marlon Samuels praised a “special team effort” as West Indies moved to the brink of qualification for the 2019 World Cup with a four-wicket win over Zimbabwe in Harare.

Victory moved the two-time World Cup winners back to the top of the Qualifier table on six points, ahead of Zimbabwe and Scotland by a point. Any of five teams can still feasibly take one of the two places on offer at next year’s World Cup.

Samuels was named man of the match for his innings of 86 from 80 balls, which underpinned the Caribbean side’s pursuit of 290 to win.

Even though his wicket prompted a nervy collapse by the West Indies, they still had enough to complete the successful chase with four wickets and an over to spare.

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"This is a special team effort," Samuels said. "We know what's at stake. We bowled badly in patches. This was a good wicket [and] everyone knew we had to come back hard during the chase.”

West Indies will clinch their trip to England for the main event if they beat Scotland on Wednesday.

UAE could yet play a decisive role in the outcome of the tournament, even though their own chances of qualifying were ended by defeat to Scotland last time out.

A win for the national team in front of the TV cameras at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday would end any lingering hopes Afghanistan have of making it through. And hosts Zimbabwe know they must beat UAE on Thursday to confirm their own progression.

Dougie Brown, the UAE coach, said his side have a great chance to show their merit to a global audience over the course of their two remaining fixtures.

“Yes, it is disappointing not to have qualified for a World Cup,” Brown said. “If this had been four years ago, at this stage we would already have qualified if the same number of teams were there.

“But we can still have an enormous say in this tournament, against two of the sides who at the start of the tournament were among the favourites. That is a great challenge for us, to go and further showcase UAE cricket.”

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