Scotland beat Zimbabwe to boost their chances of reaching the Cricket World Cup

Scotland bolstered their chances of reaching the Cricket World Cup with a 31-run victory over Zimbabwe.

Scotland looked in control of proceedings with Christopher McBride and Matthew Cross at the crease but a flurry of wickets slowed Scotland down and they looked well short of a par score before a late Michael Leask burst got them to 234.

Home side Zimbabwe got their chase off to a terrible start, losing four wickets in their opening powerplay, but a stabilising partnership between Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl ensured a total collapse was not about to happen.

But Scotland began to take regular wickets and Zimbabwe fell short, ending their qualification hopes.

Scotland lost the toss and were thrown in to bat first – and a solid 50 partnership between McBride and Cross was put on the board before the former had his stumps rearranged by Tendai Chatara.

But Scotland went again with another partnership when Brandon McMullen came to the crease as they passed 100 with the loss of just one wicket but Sean Williams produced a stunning three wickets in six overs to remove Cross and McMullen before Richie Berrington spooned one to Innocent Kaia at long off as they slumped to 118 for four.

The visitors’ run rate seemingly came to a standstill as the Zimbabwean attack ate further into the wickets column. Firstly Tomas Mackintosh was caught out of his crease when Blessing Muzarabani deflected George Munsey’s effort onto the stumps before he was bowled by Richard Ngarava and a mix-up in the middle led to Chris Greaves being run out.

Scotland looked like they would fall short but Leask’s burst of 48 from 34 balls ushered them to a respectable total of 234.

After the changeover, Joylord Gumbie edged Chris Sole with the very first ball of the innings to instantly put them on the backfoot and the Scottish seamer had his tail up when he castled both Craig Ervine and the in-form Williams with just 29 on the board.

Kaia was next to fall when he was caught leg before wicket and after Raza was dropped by Greaves, he made amends when he got his wicket with the hosts 140 runs away from the total.

Wesley Madhevere was next to fall and Zimbabwe’s only hope rested on the shoulders of Burl but he hit one big shot too many off Leask and their dreams of reaching the World Cup in India came crashing down.