By Rory Coleman-Heard
Malawi’s fairytale run in the netball at the Commonwealth Games is hanging on by a thread, following a one-goal victory over Scotland that went down to the buzzer.
Needing a win to stay in medal contention, the African side were ahead 51-49 with 27 seconds left on the clock when the Scots won back possession.
Two passes later – including a cross-court bullet from deep in the middle third – and the Scots had reduced the deficit to a single goal and retained possession from the centre.
Eight seconds remained for Scotland to tie the game and keep their hopes of a semi-final berth alive when Malawi player Jane Chimaliro was dramatically sent off for attempting to waste time.
The Scots took advantage of their extra player and looked favourites to pull off a remarkable comeback after winning consecutive contact fouls, deep within shooting range.
But as the clock ticked down, a devastated Scottish goal attack Lynsey Gallagher missed both shots – one falling too short and the other too full.
Meanwhile, the Malawian coach and players flooded the court with jubilation, their campaign mathematically still alive.
It is the second time in three days that Malawi has pulled off an upset against a more fancied opponent, having beaten New Zealand 57-53 on Sunday.
And, were it not for a surprising two-goal loss to Uganda, the sixth-ranked nation would be in pole position to take on Australia or Jamaica in the semi-finals.
As it stands, their chances are slim.
Malawi need to beat the winless Welsh team convincingly, while hoping for England to do the same in its final match against New Zealand.