|World Cricket League Division 7: Botswana, May 2011|
Nigeria and Kuwait promoted to WCL Division 6
Nigeria and Kuwait will participate in the World Cricket League Division 6 tournament in Malaysia in September after the Nigerians defeated Botswana and Kuwait’s match against Japan was abandoned due to rain in Gaborone, Botswana today.
Germany beat Norway by 18 runs in a rain-shortened game thus relegating its fellow European side out of the league and maintaining its own position in WCL Div. 7.
It was a disappointing start to the day for the hosts as it found itself reeling at 123 all out in just 37 overs in a game that was key for both African sides as it would prove the decider as to which would be promoted to Division 6 and which would be remaining in Division 7.
Having lost the toss, Akrum Chand’s side was put into bat and it was the day of Nigerian bowlers Sean Philips and Femi Oduyebo with the spinner and the medium pacer claiming three wickets each.
Some poor batting by the hosts saw a number of errors with seven of the side out after being caught by some athletic Nigerian fielding.
Thursday’s star batsman Faisal Raza Rasheed departed for just four runs and not long after Denzil Sequeira departed after the diminutive batsman went down on one knee and skied the ball up for it to be caught by Ramit Gill.
The downward spiral continued with the removal of captain Chand for just 28 runs, incidentally the top scorer of the side, and from there things went from bad to worse with the all-rounder James Moses’ attempts to stabilize the innings thwarted when he departed for 24 after being judged leg-before.
The removal of Omar Ali, when the 26-year-old edged the ball to have it caught in the slips by Gill, signaled more bad news for the hosts as the bottom order fell apart leaving the side on a low score of 123 all out.
After a short innings break, Nigeria’s openers Ademola Onikoyi and Segun Olayinka took to the field and it appeared the duo were only dealing in boundaries. Onikoyi smashed his way to six boundaries before being dismissed but not before the pair had made some 71 runs.
A heavy downpour of rain interrupted play at the 11th over, leaving players and spectators running for cover as the heavens opened over the BCA Oval 1. After an extended lunch interval and drying up of the outfield, play resumed at 1500 with a revised target for the Nigerians of 120 in 47 overs.
At the resumption of play it took the Nigerians another 14 overs to knock off the revised target with a star turn by Olayinka to guide the Nigerians to victory and a place in Division 6.
The 22-year-old’s 53 not out proved to be the highlight of Nigeria’s innings after some disappointing bowling from Botswana with the hosts failing to spark after a poor morning with the bat.
Only Karabo Modise and Segolame Ramatu took wickets for the hosts on a day that saw slack bowling and quality batting by Nigeria’s batsmen.
Winning captain Endurance Ofem was obviously delighted if a little surprised at the performance offered up by Botswana: “I expected more from them today, considering the fact that they chased down 271 but I told my guys that if we do well in the morning then the afternoon would be ours for the taking and they gave us the game.
“I think our bowlers worked hard today and it really paid off for us and I’m very happy with how they’ve put smiles on the faces of those back home and everyone is happy with their performances.
“Today is a great achievement for us as players and for the Nigerian supporters at home who have been following us throughout this event.”
Botswana national team coach Arjun Menon was disappointed with a poor batting display from his team. “The batting let us down today, from a bowling perspective we were in good form, we’d taken 33 wickets before today’s game and we were always on top. You always need a good total to bowl at and 123 just wasn’t good enough just like when we played Kuwait. It’s just a real disappointment especially after coming off such a good batting display against Norway.
“Our opening bowlers didn’t give us the best start today being hit around a lot and if we’d come off for rain at 30-1 we would have come out perhaps after the rain with our tails up but we didn’t and they hit us hard where they shouldn’t have and today just wasn’t our day,” said Menon.
Meanwhile, on BCA Oval 2, Norway took on Germany in a battle that would prove to be equally important for the European sides as whoever came out victorious would be staying in the division while the other would be relegated.
Having won the toss, Damien Shortis elected to bowl first and his side managed to restrict the German side to 184 in less than 50 overs.
Waseem Gill proved to be the pick of the bowlers for the Norwegians, the 40-year-old claiming three wickets including key middle-order batsman Rajeev Vohra. Babar Shahzad and Shahid Ahmed combined well to dismiss the top order but it took all-rounder Shahbaz Butt to dismiss Srinivas Satyanaryana.
Srinivas’ 52 was the top score for the Germans with the small wicketkeeper striking three boundaries and two sixes on his way before being caught by Iram Dawood.
With the lower order failing to make runs, the Germans failed to bat out its 50 overs and departed early for lunch, just in time as the rain began to fall in great sheets.
The match did not restart until 1530, with a loss of 21 overs and the Norwegians given a revised target of 141 after Duckworth-Lewis calculations.
A good start by Ehsan Latif and Rajeev Vohra saw the Norwegians reeling at the departure of Shortis, Shahbaz and Adeel Ibrar – all key batsmen for the Scandinavians.
Norway’s batting was unable to make the runs with the remaining overs it had and in the dying sun it saw its hopes of remaining in the league slip away. Ehsan Latif of Germany was the man to steal away Norway’s dreams claiming four wickets with his left-arm fast bowling proving the linchpin of the Germany side, dismissing the two opening batsmen with ease.
Germany captain Asif Khan was pleased with the victory if disappointed that his side weren’t going up to Division 6.
“It’s mixed feeling for me today, we had two games that we lost by two wickets and this game we won but it was very close – on the whole though we’re still delighted that we’re a part of Division 7. Our batting didn’t click so well today but Satya proved his worth under pressure and I think to have got them out for under 140 on this wicket is a real achievement.”
Norway coach Ole Mortensen was extremely disappointed with his side’s performance today but did take some positives.
“Our fielding was a positive today if you had to take something from today’s game – to restrict Germany to 184 in less than 50 overs is encouraging as the team in previous matches have not been able to bowl the opposition out.
“We need to do a lot of rethinking in Norway – we need to get back up the divisions, this should be an eye opener that preparation was needed for this event. As the saying goes ‘If you fail to prepare then prepare to fail,’ and we need to look hard at how we can improve as we shouldn’t be in Division 8,” said Mortensen.
Regular rainfall out at Lobatse meant that not play was possible today between Japan and Kuwait and the match was abandoned without a ball bowled.
Tomorrow will see Kuwait take on Nigeria in the final at BCA Oval 1, Botswana will face Germany in the third/fourth play-off at BCA Oval 2 while the fifth/sixth play-off between Norway and Japan will be played at Lobatse.