ICC World Cricket League Div. 8
Final - Kuwait v Germany:
[Finally out: epic rousing report and résumé by Brian Fell (Cricket Germany), Battle of Thermopylae, read!]
What a pity. Just like in the Euro Div 2 earlier this year the hosts proved too strong for everybody else. Germany won the toss and batted but I was completely wrong last night, Kuwait's pacers kept it tight but it were the left-arm spinner and the offie who cost us our wickets, Azmatullah Nazeer with three wickets and Saud Qamar with five! However, Murad bowled at 2.50 but our boys didn't seem to dislike the pace and negotiated it better than the spin. Both openers, Milan Fernando and André Leslie, went past 30 and Rana-Javed Iqbal made 25, apart from that almost everybody contributed a trickle and we achieved a total of 163. Seems very low but we have defended less at this ground, 128 for instance in the opening game.
|Mixed feelings in the German camp but the skipper (back row centre) is proud! (c) ICC|
But in these successful defences Ehsan didn't go at 20.50 :( No, this is no criticism of my favourite left-arm-quick. Not at all. I think he was in a crazy situation of having to bowl at batsmen that are used to express left-arm pace and they just smashed him around. The problem is that these 41 runs that came from his two overs probably cost us a proper contest. It's not his fault! He has done us proud on so many occasions and he will do it again. Heads up big boy, you have taken us to the final and thereby to Div 7! :)
In the chase three Kuwaiti wickets fell before Kuwait had reached the hundred, among these were the important scalps of Irfan Bhatti and Hisham Mirza, but also the second opener Abid Chaudhry got removed, however, Kuwait had already raced to 96 then. Skipper Asif Khan bowled Kashif Haider and Shakeel Hassan out, he probably assumed this was our only chance to take more wickets. Kashif, who had accounted for Bhatti and Mirza, also dismissed the fourth Kuwaiti, keeper Mohammad Akhudzada, before he finished his last over with figures of 3-38. Ahh Kash...
|Thomas!!! (c) ICC|
Shakeel tightened the screws with an economy of 2.50 and felled Chaudhry, but my impression was the Kuwaitis could just afford to sit out the spinners and wait for sunshine because they were under no pressure. So our two best men were bowled out at 111-4... Tarun Rawat and Milan Fernando continued the bowling decently but the Kuwaitis just leaned back and milked them as they didn't have to take any risks, and they had probably learnt their lesson from their collapse against Zambia yesterday.
Big congratulations to the Kuwaiti team, they have played on a different level and truly deserve to lift the trophy! But don't feel too safe my friends from the desert... we shall meet again, soon, very soon!:D
Ah well... we are going to Botswana! Yayyy I am so proud of the boys, their hard work is rewarded with all these fantastic trips around the world and going to Africa will certainly be one of the greatest journeys for the majority of them. They will encounter the Kuwaitis again but the cards are gonna be reshuffled, as the desert warriors will play on foreign soil just like everybody else.
Our good Asif Khan summarises:
"I think our spinners really troubled the teams here in Kuwait and it's unfortunate we've not managed to win today but to know we're heading to Botswana is a great feeling. The side has worked extremely hard to get here and the qualification is even more special as this whole tournament we played on turf wickets, of which we have none in Germany."
Thanks Germs for this fantastic experience, we have moved a big step forward!
We will certainly improve further and I'm already looking forward to Div 7 next year! :D
The list of the WCL Div 7 participants looks as follows:
1st and 2nd of Div 8 2010 - that's us, Kuwait and Germany,
5th (Botswana) and 6th (Norway) of Div 6 2009,
3rd (Nigeria) and 4th (Japan) of Div 7 2009
I can't say a lot about these teams except that Japan are strong and we have already beaten Norway this year.
The African teams will turn up no doubt.
Small Final - Zambia v Vanuatu:
|Fruity fresh towards WCL 8 2012!|
The Vanuatuans prior to their match against Zambia (c) ICC
Wow what a great contest, it seems like the best match was saved for last! Zambia chose to bat and accumulated an imposing total of 272 runs. Opener Allan Nsensha made 82, and the fourth of the Patels, Imran, added a half ton, skipper Samit (Patel No. 3) contributed 42.
To be honest I was secretly hoping Vanuatu would win this, the Zambians were in our group and are tough and elegant fighters, but Trevor Langa's blog (see below) has totally turned me around, there is no shame in confessing this, he is a bloody great ambassador for Vanuatuan cricket. Also the funny wooden figurine they gave us at the toss of our clash and the bright smile of skipper Mansale might have played a role hehe.
However, the Vans didn't lose too many wickets but it came down to a T20 finish, 19 runs needed from the last three overs. Vanuatu started to hammer it!!! After 48.1 it was all over, what a wonderful match to conclude the tournament! Skipper Andrew Mansale made a big fat 131 not out, and was assisted by Jonathon Dunn (not a typo) with 63. Vanuatu very worthily retain their spot in Division 8, congratulations to the lemon-lime-coloured island folks!
|The ever (ever ever ever ever ever ever)-smiling |
André Leslie during his warm-up routine (c) ICC
Here is a summary of the blogs that have been published at Cricinfo, they are absolutely worth looking at, great insights into the German and Vanuatuan camp:
Gibraltar got thrashed by Suriname. Gahh gahh gahh. I don't want to talk about it. The only team they could beat was pitiful Bhutan. And they had to labour hard for this victory. They must go home now and lick their wounds of this summer and reassess a couple of things in their line-up I think. Perhaps also if their key players return they can arise from the ashes stronger. But the way it looks now they are completely down at the ground and need to regroup their forces. I certainly wish them all the best!
In the second match Bhutan bowled the Bahamas out within 35.3 overs and took all available balls to chase the total of 167! What a bizarre game. So at least none of the teams that took part in this tournament returns home without a single win.
So that was the ICC WCL Div 8 in Kuwait, what a great adventure. The teams depart tomorrow but I will already say good bye - mentally of course - today. It's been a fantastic ride and I am really happy about the way it went for us.
The Germs are going home now to the land of and
Bring some sand and heat with you from Kuwait will you! :D
Cheers guys, I'm out of here,