Samuels slogs Windies closer to World Cup qualification

West Indies need a win over Scotland to ensure their place at the Cricket World Cup after an entertaining win over Zimbabwe.

Marlon Samuels of West Indies   -  Getty Images

Marlon Samuels clubbed an 80-ball 86 to edge West Indies closer to qualification for the Cricket World Cup with a four-wicket victory over Zimbabwe.

The Windies moved back to the top of the Super Six table at the World Cup Qualifier by defeating the hosts in a hugely entertaining encounter in Harare.

Victory sees the Windies go a point clear of the chasing pack, with the top two teams progressing to the tournament proper, and victory over Scotland on Wednesday will make sure of their place at the competition in England and Wales.

Brendan Taylor struck 138, his second hundred of the qualification tournament, as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 289. 

Taylor hit 20 fours and a pair of maximums in his innings but found little in the way of support, Solomon Mire (45 off 33) and Sean Williams (34 off 31) the only others to impress.

Zimbabwe's hopes were boosted when the usually destructive Chris Gayle went for just 17 off 13 balls, but the rest of the top order proved in good knick to lead an impressive chase.

Evin Lewis (64 off 75) and Shai Hope (76 off 97) turned the tide after Gayle's early exit with a disciplined stand of 72, but it was the latter's partnership of 135 with Samuels that took the game away from Zimbabwe.

The Windies had motored to 245-3 with 61 balls left by the time Samuels was caught by wicketkeeper Taylor off Blessing Muzarabani's (2-36) bowling, but Hope and captain Jason Holder (6) went in quick succession to threaten a late twist.

Hope fell victim to a stunning diving Sikandar Raza catch and the same man caught Holder at long-off, but Rovman Powell (15 not out) hammered a massive six over long-on as he and Ashley Nurse got the Windies over the line with an over to spare.

Zimbabwe can still secure their progression if they defeat the already eliminated United Arab Emirates.

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