Scotland bowler Safyaan Sharif pulled off a spectacular one-handed grab to dismiss West Indian all-rounder Romario Shepherd in the Super Sixes encounter of the 2023 World Cup Qualifiers in Harare on July 1.
Both teams entered their first Super Sixes contest in desperate need of a win to bolster their chances of finishing in the top two to qualify for the 2023 World Cup later this year. The West Indies, in particular, have to win all three games by a considerable margin and require a few other results to go their way to qualify for the 50-over mega event in India.
However, things could not have started worse for the Caribbean side as they were reduced to a dismal 81/6 in the 21st over after being asked to bat first. Just when it appeared like the innings would be wrapped up quickly, all-rounders Jason Holder and Romario Shepherd added 77 of 95 deliveries.
As the duo looked to accelerate the innings, Shepherd cut a short delivery outside the off stump towards the point region against left-arm-spinner Mark Watt. The 32-year-old Sharif pulled off an acrobatic one-hand catch diving to his left to break the partnership.
Here is a video of the dismissal:
The dismissal broke the West Indian resistance as the rest of the lower-order batters did not add much to be bowled out for 181 in the 44th over. Jason Holder top-scored with a hard-fought 45 off 79 deliveries, who continued their disappointing run at the Qualifiers.
Defeat in the encounter will eliminate the side from a second straight World Cup after the Men from the Caribbean suffered a similar fate in the T20 World Cup in Australia last year.
"It was a clinical performance from us" - Brandon McMullen
Scotland opening bowler Brandon McMullen spoke about his love for bowling at the top of the innings after picking up the first three West Indian wickets to fall inside the first overs. The 23-year-old bagged the crucial wickets of Brandon King, Johnson Charles, and Shamarh Brooks to reduce the West Indies to 25/3.
At the innings break, McMullen spoke about bowling in tandem with Chris Sole and the confidence Scotland would take for their run-chase off their sensational bowling performance.
"The new-ball does a bit for me, love bowling up top and backed up Chris Sole well. I try and keep it tight, Sole does the same but is much more aggressive and runs in and bowls at pace. Brings a lot of confidence back into the dressing room going into the batting now. It was a clinical performance from us. Excited for the chase," said McMullen.
A Scotland win will keep them in the mix for World Cup qualification while also getting revenge for their heartbreaking defeat against the West Indies in the 2019 World Cup Qualifiers.
In that encounter, Scotland similarly restricted the Caribean side to 198 before stuttering to 125/5 in the 36th over when rain intervened. The unrelenting weather meant that the West Indies were deemed winners by five runs, thanks to the D/L method to qualify for the 2019 World Cup and eliminate Scotland.