11 November 2010

Ascension Day! ICC WCL 8 - Day 4 - Semifinals

ICC World Cricket League Div. 8

Day 4 - Semifinals

Semifinal Germany v Vanuatu:
Farooq working on his MOTM  (c) ICC
Yes we did it!! It was easier than I had thought. For the first time in this tournament Germany won the toss and what might have looked like a bad omen considering all the victories after the lost tosses so far turned out to be a comfortable win in the end. We batted first and I wasn't sure if 185 would be enough but Vanuatu never really got a foot in the door, our bowlers removed them one by one. Kashif was in the wickets again with four scalps this time and I was secretly hoping he'd get his fiver but four isn't bad either! Ehsan and Shakeel with two each and Rana with one. Fantastic. Our bowlers really make me grin like stupid, time and time again.

Batting-wise we've seen an impressive 79 from Farooq Ahmed, our good old warhorse, pardon, seasoned allrounder; I was already missing him a little in this tournament but he turned up in time, well done! None of the others made it past 20, I hope they'll be back in the runs in the final.

Yes the final! Tomorrow shall be the day of doom for us then, as Kuwait expectedly beat the Zambians.

What's even more important: We are playing in Division 7 now! With the big boys, you know. Hehe. I think the Germans deserve this richly, in my opinion we played even better than in the Euro Div 2, given the conditions were completely foreign to most of the players we cannot appreciate their efforts enough! No matter what happens tomorrow I think we can be very proud of our team and we have achieved a bit more than we expected, which is always very encouraging.

Skipper Asif Khan says: "It feels fantastic to know we’ll be travelling to Botswana next year for Division 7. To have won every game so far in this tournament is brilliant and I hope tomorrow we can round off a great week with a win over Kuwait to make it a clean sweep. Vanuatu tested us today and credit must got to Farooq Ahmed who stood up to the strong bowling attack to make 79. While I must also mention another fine performance by Kashif Haider who made sure we dismissed Vanuatu for 93 and claimed victory."

Andrew Mansale and Asif Khan exchanged gifts at the toss (c) ICC

Semifinal Kuwait v Zambia:
(Gallery not up yet)
Well perhaps I didn't expect the Zambians to win, but 63 all out after 29 ov is disappointing, but it highlights what bulldozers the Kuwaitis are. I have to say, though, I don't really get how Kuwait managed to lose seven (seven!) wickets in their chase and thereby almost threw the match. They eventually finished with 143 balls to spare.

Vanuatu and Zambia will now fight for rank 3 in order to retain their spot in the next WCL 8.

Crossover matches:

Bhutan v Gibraltar:
Gibraltar have won their first match of the tournament and it's their first victory in a long time. Admittedly I had expected a more comfortable win, since Bhutan got skittled by Kuwait for 31, while Gibraltar let Bhutan come quite close to their total of 279. Alright 233 isn't *that* close but I had expected them to win by a larger margin. It seemed like the bowling couldn't really penetrate again, however, in the end they took all ten Bhutanese wickets. Mark Bacarese top-scored with 62, followed by Kieron Ferrary with 56 and Ross Harkins with 51, this is how a scorecard should look. Mark was also in the wickets again with three scalps, he and Ferrary are imho definitely two guys Gibraltar will build on in the future. I will spare you any extended whimpering today, there comes a point when you accept the truth, and hopefully the Gibraltarians can quickly forget about this year and are looking forward, because this is where their future lies.

Bahamas v Suriname:
Our group mates the Bahamas got defeated by Suriname, how wrong I was after the first match, but it's better to pay too much respect than too little. Bahamas skipper Gregory Taylor impressed again, but his top-score of 78 wasn't enough to lead his team to victory. Narendra Ekanayake shone for them with the ball.


Final preview:
It is high time for us to look at the strengths in the Kuwaiti line-up. The drubbings they inflicted on their opponents do not allow for a real in-depth look, as most of the matches were over quickly. However, there is one guy that belts the goodness out of every batsman, his name is Mohammad Murad. His bowling style is defined as "left-arm fast". Not medium fast or slow fast but fast. Ouch. At only 20 years of age he has been Kuwait's main weapon throughout the whole tournament and we will have to survive his ten overs somehow to have a chance. The second dangerman in the Kuwaiti attack is Murad's partner Saad Khalid, a right arm pacer. He has taken clumps of wickets as well. On the batting front the two openers protrude from the rest of the line-up, Irfan Bhatti, whose name rings a bell for some reason, and skipper Hisham Mirza. Perhaps if we can remove them early that would increase our chances significantly, especially in the light of Kuwait's implosion today.

I think the main strength of the German team lies in the well-balanced attack. Cricinfo praised the batting and I agree that in every matches someone turns up and makes runs, but I think the bowlers have bailed us out on numerous occasions and provide the highest degree of consistency. We have a left-arm/right-arm pace combination and very efficient and effective offspin and legspin bowlers, this balance enables us to react to different kinds of challenges. We lack an express pacer like Mohammad Murad, but so far it hasn't harmed us. Our allrounders are all able to come on at any given time and take a wicket.

So the main challenge will be to somehow make it through the opening overs and fend their pacers off. I can't say how experienced our openers are concerning fast-fast bowling, but at the European level we play I don't think there are a lot of bowlers that reach 140, 145 kph or more. We'll just have to see what happens. Hopefully we can keep our heads over water and won't get drubbed, and even if they keep us down to a low total perhaps our bowlers can work some of their magic. We shall see. The only certain thing is that I will die, this or that way.

Go the Germs!!!!!


1 comment:

Masuud said...

Woot woot!
Signs of a great team.You defend even a smallish total! Just the last hurdle now!

p.s. Massive congrats for getting into div. 7!