|Under 19 World Cup Qualifier: Ireland, July-August 2011|
All to play for as tournament enters final phase
Afghanistan, Nepal, PNG, Scotland and USA registered wins on the seventh day of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Derry.
On a day when rains affected all but one game, plenty of action was witnessed as the jostling for the final six spots to qualify for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup to be held next year in Australia heated up.
Hosts Ireland featured in another last over finish, this time against Nepal at the Bready Cricket Club. Nepal batted first and was restricted to 187 for seven in 46 overs as rains forced reduction in the number of overs. Ireland skipper George Dockrell picked up 3-15 even as Sagar Pun made 50 off 100 balls with three boundaries and a six.
In the chase, the home team lost early wickets, but Dockrell (55: 86b, 3x4) and Adam Coughlan (48:86b, 1x4) added 107 runs for the fifth wicket.
Once the partnership was broken, the chase fell apart. Nepal’s left-arm spinner Rahul Vishvakarma picked up four wickets in the final over to bowl out Ireland for 175 and earned his side a 10-run win.
Dockrell’s all-round effort earned him the Man of the Match award, but the skipper was a disappointed man: “We bowled well to restrict them, but they got a few runs towards the end which helped them a lot. The match was in the balance and we seemed to be getting close. But we lost wickets towards the end. We still have two more games to end the tournament well.”
At Eglinton Cricket Club, yet another captain led from the front, this time of PNG, Christopher Kent in the only match of the day not to be affected by rain. But Kent had plenty to cheer about as he single-handedly batted his side to a four-wicket win over Canada.
Canada led by the youngest player at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, Nitish Kumar (150: 126b, 14x4, 3x6) posted 261 for nine in 50 overs. The target was a stiff one, but Kent batted well to end unbeaten at 166 off 131 balls with 21 boundaries and two sixes.
Kent anchored the innings well as the others offered him good support to help PNG overhaul the score in 49.4 overs with four wickets to spare.
A relieved Kent won the Man of the Match award: “There was not too much pressure. I was just thinking of playing every ball on its merit. I wanted to bat right through the innings. Two more good days and our dream could well be true.”
Scotland continued to roll out another good performance in the tournament, this time against Namibia at the Bready 2 ground. Scotland batted first and posted 180 for nine in a contest reduced to 43-overs-a-side.
Namibia kept pace for a while, but was finally bowled out for 140 in 39.5 overs to hand Scotland a 40-run win.
Ross McLean earned Man of the Match award for his handy 35 and a spell of 3-12: “We should have got a few more runs. It looked close for a while. But we dried up the runs and the asking rate kept rising. They lost wickets at regular intervals. It is a credit to the team that we have been playing well. The focus of the team is to take one match at a time.”
After waiting for a major part of the day for the skies to clear up, Afghanistan produced one of its most impressive performances of the tournament at the Limavady Cricket Club.
In a match reduced to 24-overs-a-side, Kenya posted 154 for five in 24 overs thanks to Rahul Vishram who top-scored with 59 off 40 balls with five boundaries and two sixes.
Afghanistan had one eye on its own run-rate and the possibility of late showers as it knocked off the runs in just 18.4 overs with nine wickets to spare. The stars of the win were Javed Ahmadi (86 n.o.: 51b, 6x4, 5x6) and Hashmatullah Shaidi (63 n.o.: 58b, 7x4) who shared an unbeaten 138 run stand for the second wicket.
Ahmadi’s whirlwind knock won him the Man of the Match award. The opener was only too glad to have played a part in the team’s win: “I was keeping an eye out for the Duckworth-Lewis par score. We had to be ahead of the rate at all times. Once we were ahead at the end of the five overs, I just played normal cricket and we got home. I will always play according to the requirement of the side.”
USA got the better of Vanuatu at the Drummond Cricket Club. Vanuatu batted first and posted 128 for eight in 32 overs. Jelany Chilia with 29 was the top-scorer for Vanuatu. In its chase, USA was being powered home by Steven Taylor (33 n.o.) and skipper Greg Sewdial (27 n.o.) when played was halted by rains.
USA was declared winners by the Duckworth-Lewis Method as it was ahead of Vanuatu at that stage by 42 runs.
Taylor was named Man of the Match yet again in the tournament. The swashbuckling opener was happy to have played a part in the team's win: “In the last three games I had not done well. I was glad to have made a contribution to the side's win again. The side is gelling well now and we are looking good as a combination right now.”