|World Cricket League Division 7: Botswana, May 2011|
Kuwait wins WCL 7 final
Kuwait beat Nigeria today by 72 runs in the final of the World Cricket League Division 7 tournament at BCA Oval 1 in Gaborone.
Having been set a target of 220 by Kuwait, Nigeria didn’t start well with the side losing wickets early on and despite a fight-back by the middle-order Kuwait’s Mohammad Murad had other plans in mind claiming 4-20 and walking away with the man of the match award for the final.
Murad’s second man of the match award along with the fast bowler’s 15 wickets in the tournament earned the 21-year-old the accolade of Player of the Tournament. The left-armed bowler had an economy rate of just 3.47 while his best figures came against Norway when he took 6-39.
By virtue of reaching the final, both Kuwait and Nigeria joined Fiji, Malaysia, Jersey and Guernsey in the Pepsi ICC WCL Div. 6 which will be staged from 17 to 24 September in Malaysia.
Elsewhere, Germany beat Botswana in a close-fought fixture that saw the European side finish in third position in the tournament. The already relegated Norway and Japan fought it out for fifth/sixth position with Norway coming out the victor by 56 runs at Lobatse.
Having won the toss, Endurance Ofem elected to bowl against Kuwait and the captain’s decision didn’t quite have the desired effect when opener Irfan Bhatti hit 60 runs off 77 balls before being dismissed by Joshua Ogunlola after being caught behind by inform wicketkeeper Ademola Onikoyi.
Onikoyi had a great day behind the stumps claiming five catches while bowler Olajide Bejide claimed four wickets but the team’s efforts in the field proved futile as Kuwait’s batsmen made a decent total of 219 in its 50 overs.
In reply, Nigeria’s batting could not withstand fast bowler Murad whose four wickets for 20 runs in just 8.5 overs proved the cornerstone of the Kuwaiti side’s attack alongside Saad Khalid. The top order failed to perform today giving Kuwait’s bowlers the chance to shine.
The victorious Kuwait captain Hisham Mirza said on receiving the trophy from ICC Board Director and Executive Board Director of Bermuda Cricket Neil Speight: “I don’t think we came into this tournament in Botswana as favourites as we didn’t know the other teams we would be facing. It wasn’t our home tournament and the only side we had background on was Germany having played them in Division 8.
“We played each game as it came and it worked out well for us as we came out victorious again. I don’t think I can single out one player that performed for me as we are very much a team effort. However, I will mention my fast bowlers, they’ve been the best in Division 7 and Division 8 in my opinion. They are quick, they are good but we’re in this as a team.
“I don’t think Malaysia will be that easy – we’ve made a few mistakes during this tournament and the higher the division the harder it gets for us as a team. We need to make sure we’re well prepared for the event and plug the loopholes in the team and hopefully we’ll go there and even better side than we were here in Botswana.”
Losing captain Ofem said: “We came here for a purpose and that was to get to Malaysia which we have managed to do now and the good thing is we’ve played Kuwait twice now so we now know what to expect of them when we face them in Division 6. We’re going to regroup now and then go onto Division 6 in Malaysia fully prepared.
“Our player-coach Sean Philips has done a lot for us as a side and Segun Olayinka has come up with the goods for us in the last three games contributing two half-centuries in the tournament and of course Ademola Onikoyi who had given us good starts upfront.”
Player-coach Philips added: “I think when the players first arrived in South Africa for our training camp ahead of this tournament they didn’t really have the ambition but with the pre-tournament games these guys got some belief and that’s what we bought to the tournament.
“We lost two games this tournament – both to Kuwait – but the rest of their games the guys really stood up and wanted to go to Malaysia. We achieved the goal we set and I’m very proud of them.”
In the third/fourth play-off Botswana took on Germany with the European side desperate for a win after losing to the hosts in the group stage of the tournament.
Having won the toss, Asif Khan chose to bat first and it was a worthwhile decision as the 35-year-old batsman went on to score a century, his first of the tournament.
The right-hander hit eight boundaries and two sixes on his way to his ton before he was removed by James Moses after being caught by Segolame Ramatu. It was a good day for the young Ramutu removing opener Farooq Ahmed and claiming two catches as the hosts restricted Germany to 269.
In reply, Botswana fell just 25 runs short despite a great batting performance by Noor Ahmad and some hard work by the side and a last gasp attempt by Mosa Gaolekwe could not help the hosts across the line despite huge cheers of support from the local crowd.
Rajeev Vohra and Shakeel Hassan proved the pick of Germany’s bowlers today claiming a trio of wickets each on a gloriously sunny day in Gaborone.
Finally, at Lobatse, Japan took on Norway and the side from the East Asia-Pacific rounded off a disappointing tournament with another loss this time by 56 runs.
Despite limiting the Norwegians to 225 in 48 overs the side simply could not chase down the target despite a valiant effort by Patrick Giles-Jones and the young Raheel Kano at the end of the side’s innings.
Kano’s 15 not out alongside Giles-Jones took the side from being 83-9 to 169-9 in 50 overs to help save the side some face in a tournament that it has not performed well.
Norway’s bowler Shahid Ahmed proved to be the pick of the attack claiming 3-27 in his eight overs but despite his best efforts Giles-Jones walked away with the man of the match award after claiming two wickets and batting out the Japanese innings.