It is not a controversial statement that the ten team World Cup was intended to be a full member only event. Indeed as originally proposed, there was to be no pathway for associate members to qualify. When a pathway was agreed, it was weighted heavily against the associates. The decks were stacked, the dice were loaded.

And yet one of Scotland or the Netherlands - both teams missing players to county cricket - has overcome the odds and will be in India later this year after Scotland recorded a famous win over the hosts today in Bulawayo, possibly the biggest win of Scotland's cricketing history.

When Richie Berrington lost the toss, it was evident from his reaction that he wanted to bowl first. But his team were put in by Zimbawe captain Craig Ervine. Despite Berrington's disappointment, Scotland started brightly, with Christopher McBride and Matthew Cross putting on 56 for the first wicket.

Another 48 came from Cross and McMullen for the second wicket, but both fell in quick succession for 38 and 34 respectively. Zimabwe were turning the screws and when Berrington was the fourth man out, Scotland had gone from 102-1 to 118-4.

But when Michael Leask came in at number seven, he was able to score a quick 48 from 34 balls to give Scotland a chance. A total of 234-8 was a low one - but one that they could defend.

When Joylord Gumbie was caught behind from the first ball of the Zimbabwean reply, with Craig Ervine following soon afterwards, Scotland dared to dream. Chris Sole was bowling out of his skin, at one point clocking 94mph on the speedgun. He took the first three wickets to fall, with Brandon McMullen taking the fourth to leave the home team reeling on 37-4.

Craig Ervine is bowled by Chris SoleCraig Ervine is bowled by Chris Sole (ICC)

The recovery came, with Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl putting on 54 before Raza was out for 34, followed by Burl and Wessly Madhevere putting on 73 before the latter fell for 40. Another 13 runs came in five overs before the next wicket, five more for the eighth wicket.

Burl was hanging on in there but when he was finally dismissed for 83 in the 39th over, Scotland finally had victory in their sights Just six more runs came before Safyaan Sharif bowled Tendai Chatara to secure a 31 run win and eliminate Zimbabwe from contention for the World Cup.

Whatever happens now, either Scotland or the Netherlands will be in the World Cup, with the match between those two teams on Thursday deciding which. It isn't quite a straight shoot-out - the Dutch will need to win by around 35 runs if they bat first or chase in circa-44 overs if they bowl first - but an associate has qualified.

For Zimbabwe, yet again they fall at the final hurdle, losing a must win game against an associate in their final Super Six game for the second qualifier in a row.

It's not all doom and gloom though - as they will co-host the 2027 World Cup with South Africa, they are already in that tournament. Namibia are also a co-host for that tournament but they aren't similarly being awarded automatic entry. The World Cup may be expanding, but the decks are still stacked, the dice are still loaded.