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ICC World Cup qualifier 2018: West Indies hope to steamroll Afghanistan in Super Six stage

West Indies cricket team, which has carried forward four points from the preliminary group stage into the ICC World Cup Qualifier 2018 Super Six stage, will be favourites to come out on top against Afghanistan Cricket team, which has zero points, in their match at the Harare Sports Club.

cricket Updated: Mar 14, 2018 17:33 IST
ICC World Cup qualifier 2018,West Indies cricket team,ICC World Cup qualifier Super Six
Despite shaky performances by the West Indies in the group stage of the ICC World Cup qualifier 2018-- they were forced to carve out hard fought wins against lower-ranked teams such as Papua New Guinea and the Netherlands -- the side did manage to progress to the Super Six stage with full points, after winning all the preliminary matches(HT Photo)

Two-time world champions West Indies cricket team will be looking to dominate the Super Six stage of the ICC World Cup Qualifier 2018, and will eye a big win over Afghanistan in their first match on Thursday.

The top two finishers after the Super Six will qualify for the in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 to be held in England and Wales from May 30, to July 14 next year.

West Indies, who have carried forward four points from the preliminary group stage, will be favourites to come out on top against the Afghans, who have zero points, when the two sides clash at the Harare Sports Club.

Despite shaky performances by the Windies in the group stages -- they were forced to carve out hard fought wins against lower-ranked teams such as Papua New Guinea and the Netherlands -- skipper Jason Holder said he was happy that his team progressed to Super Six stage with full points.

“I think this is one box ticked. We have not only qualified but qualified going into the Super Six with four points. I think that was crucial coming in from the group stages,” said Holder.

“We’ve got Afghanistan first in the Super Six match, and we know we have to win that game. I think everybody will be up for it, it’s obviously a must-win game, a very important game.”

Second-placed Scotland, the defending champions, will take on take on bottom-placed United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Bulawayo, after having carried three points into the Super Six stage as compared to the Asian side’s zero points.

Scotland’s skipper Kyle Coetzer, while agreeing that the UAE is a dangerous side, said playing at Queens Sports Club will give his team the advantage.

“We are preparing for our first game against the UAE. We know they are a dangerous and a tough team, and can’t be taken lightly. Hopefully, we can use the advantage of already playing here in Bulawayo, so hopefully that can help us,” said Coetzer.

“Looking at the bigger picture of World Cup qualification is nice but can be a little bit dangerous. You can’t get there without doing the things leading up to it, but one game at a time is what we are looking at. This is important as we move to Harare as we have never played there before,” added Coetzer.

Hosts vs Ireland

On Friday, hosts Zimbabwe will go up against Ireland at the Harare Sports Club. Zimbabwe have carried three points from their group phase outings, while Ireland come into the Super Six with two points following their 226-run victory over the UAE.

Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer is wary of the sides his team will have play in the Super Six.

“I think we will do really well in the Super Six stage. We always play well at Harare Sports Club and we will also have massive home support to count on,” said Cremer.

“It will be really tough in the Super Six, with some really strong teams having made it through, and the team that handles pressure the best will win.”

Aside from these Super Six teams vying for World Cup spots, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and Nepal will look to secure an ODI status spot from their play-off fixtures. The top team will join the Netherlands, who qualified last year for the new 13-team ODI League commencing in 2020 after winning the ICC World Cricket League Championship.

Scotland and the UAE have already retained their ODI status until 2022 by reaching the Super Six.

Fixtures:

15 March – Windies v Afghanistan (S6), Harare Sports Club

15 March - UAE v Scotland (S6), Queens Sports Club

15 March - PNG v Nepal (play-off), Old Hararians

15 March - Netherlands v Hong Kong (play-off), Kwekwe Sports Club

16 March – Ireland v Zimbabwe (S6), Harare Sports Club

First Published: Mar 14, 2018 17:33 IST