HARARE, Zimbabwe, CMC – An unconvincing West Indies needed left-arm spinner Nikita Miller’s five-wicket haul to beat minnows United Arab Emirates by 32 runs, as their dodgy start to the ICC World Cup Qualifiers continued here Thursday.
Embarrassingly bundled out for 115 in the 34th over at the at Harare Sports Club, the Caribbean side rebounded to rout UAE for 83 off 29 overs, and claim victory in their last of their official warm-up matches before their Group A campaign gets underway next Tuesday against the same opponents.
The 35-year-old Miller bagged five for 20 and seamer Kemar Roach, three for 15, as West Indies avoided another potential disaster following on from Tuesday’s shock defeat to Afghanistan.
Sent in, there was no sign of what was to unfold when the Caribbean side reached 81 for three in the 18th over.
Veteran Chris Gayle (16) and rookie Evin Lewis (10) put on 31 for the first wicket before Shimron Hetmyer, who top-scored with 20, added 34 with Marlon Samuels (15) for the second wicket.
The left-handed Hetmyer was bowled by off-spinner Rohan Mustafa (2-10) in the 16th over after facing 28 balls and counting a single four and Samuels followed 13 deliveries later, caught at the wicket off leg-spinner Imran Haider who was the best bowler with four for 16.
West Indies then capitulated, losing their last seven wickets for just 34 runs as Haider and left-arm spinner Ahmed Raza (2-14) ran through the middle and lower order.
Seamer Mohammed Naveed accounted for both openers to finish with two for 27.
In reply, UAE were tottering early when Roach claimed the first three wickets to fall to leave the World Cricket League Division 2 champions on 36 for three in the 10th over.
With a run added, Miller knocked over Chirag Suri for one and the Jamaican then combined with off-spinner Ashley Nurse (2-21) to wreck the UAE innings.
Rain halted play with UAE on 58 for seven and the Windies clinically wiped out the tail once play resumed.
Despite the victory, the performance will raise even more questions for West Indies, especially about their batting, especially after they were dismissed for 110 in pursuit of a revised 140 in a rain-hit encounter against Afghanistan.
West Indies will also face Papua New Guinea, Ireland and the Netherlands in the preliminaries as they bid for a spot in the Super Six second stage of the qualifiers.
The top two teams will qualify for the final and also secure the remaining spots at next year’s ICC World Cup in England.