AFP| Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer was left to rue a controversial lbw decision as his side narrowly missed out on a World Cup place with defeat by the West Indies on Wednesday.
Scotland lost by five runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method after rain arrived in Harare with them 125 for five chasing 199 to win.
The West Indies secured the penultimate spot for the 2019 World Cup, with Scotland knocked out of contention.
Richie Berrington was given out lbw for 33 to a delivery from off-spinner Ashley Nurse which clearly seemed to be missing leg stump.
With the ICC opting not to provide DRS for the qualifiers, that wicket left Scotland behind the par DLS score when the match was called off with 14.4 overs remaining.
“Clearly that lbw decision is not sitting very well with us right now,” said Coetzer. “It’s not the first one in this tournament. In a competition like this, it comes down to a big game like that.
“Two critical moments in two critical games have potentially cost us. So we’re not feeling too flash right now.”
Scotland opted to bowl first and were given a major boost by the first-ball dismissal of star batsman Chris Gayle, caught behind for a golden duck off the bowling of Safyaan Sharif.
Sharif struck again in his second over to leave West Indies reeling at 2 for 2, but a 121-run partnership between Evin Lewis and Marlon Samuels helped to steady the innings.
“Our boys bowled extremely well up front and picked up early wickets,” said Coetzer. “Credit to the two West Indian batsmen who came in and played brilliantly to see them through that rough period.”
Former Scotland captains Craig Wright and Preston Mommsen lashed out at the ICC after the match on Twitter, highlighting the decision to cut the 2019 World Cup to only 10 teams.
“Feel absolutely sick for everyone @CricketScotland, players, support staff, administration & supporters,” wrote Wright.
“It’s all been said before, but this tournament has highlighted (again) so much that is wrong with the management, structure & priorities of world cricket @ICC #notgoodenough.”
Mommsen pointed out the ICC’s ‘value’ of “commitment to the global game”, saying: “@ICC I think you need to re-address your ‘values’ below, particularly your final point. Your actions as a governing body are so misaligned with this it’s frightening.”
Partnerships between Calum MacLeod and Berrington, and then Berrington and George Munsey, helped to keep Scotland’s chase ticking over, but Berrington’s controversial dismissal just before the rain arrived proved to be the turning point.
“We feel pretty rough right now. There’s a bit of emotion going around,” said Coetzer.
“The guys are absolutely gutted. They’re sat upstairs right now, and finding it pretty tough at the moment.”
– ‘World wanted us to win’ –
Despite his disappointment, Coetzer was full of praise for his team, whose only defeats in the tournament came to Ireland and West Indies.
“I couldn’t say any more for our guys. They have been absolutely outstanding. There’s obviously been a lot of pressure on them.
“There was extreme pressure today, with pretty much the whole world barring the West Indies wanting us to turn them over. That was what we feel is for the good of the game. Try and make a scene and get us into that World Cup. But it wasn’t to be today.”
For Windies skipper Jason Holder, the win brought the relief of knowing that he would not be in charge of the first West Indies team to miss out on World Cup qualification.
“Definitely relieved,” said Holder. “Coming into this tournament, being here for the first time in a qualifier, we knew what was at stake.
“And I was really pleased with how the guys responded. We really came together as a squad and everyone put their heads together and tried to do what’s best for West Indies cricket and what’s best for ourselves.”
Zimbabwe will claim the final place at the reduced 10-team World Cup if they beat the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.