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Italy defeat Cayman Islands as they notch up another victory in WCL Div 4

Fri, Aug 20, 2010 10:13 AM


Host Italy set another huge target for its opponents, this time Cayman Islands, by putting 233 runs on the board in its allotted 50 overs at Medicina.

The innings was dominated by the Northcote brothers, Andy and Nic, who made 54 and 70 respectively as the bowling of Cayman Islands policeman Ryan Bovell and Captain Saheed Mohamed was simply not tight enough at the biggest of the three grounds hosting the tournament.

Pearson Best, the Cayman's 46-year-old top-order batsman, attempted to keep the side in the match with a swashbuckling 85 off 103 balls, including nine boundaries and two sixes but he was run out by the quick movements of the Northcote brothers.

Only Mohamed and Ronald Ebanks managed to add anymore runs before the side began to slip and became victims to some quick Italian fielding and strong bowling once again by Gayashan Munasinghe. Ultimately Italy was too strong for the Cayman Islands' batsmen and the side lost by 47 runs.

Italy's man of the match Andy Northcote said, "I definitely thought at one point that the Cayman Islanders still had a massive chance to beat us when they were 100 or so for three especially with Pearson Best's 85 which was a great knock but our fielding was on target which meant we struck the run outs just when we needed them to regain the upper hand.

"We knew USA and Nepal were going to be really strong in the tournament but we've always had the confidence in ourselves that we could be an outside contender and tomorrow's game against Tanzania is going to be a huge one for us".

In the day's other games Argentina became the first side to be relegated from Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 4 (WCL Div. 4) tournament in Bologna after being defeated by three wickets by an in-form Tanzania.

Today's results have blown the competition wide open for promotion to Pepsi ICC WCL Div. 3 which will be held in Hong Kong at the end of January 2011.

USA also beat Nepal by 55 runs, while Italy again showed their batting strength by defeating Cayman Islands by 47 runs.

The USA victory at Pianoro has virtually guaranteed the side a berth at Pepsi ICC WCL Div. 3 while Italy's victory over Cayman Islands has pushed the Europeans into a four-way promotion battle with Tanzania, Nepal as well as the USA. However should the Americans be defeated heavily tomorrow by Argentina and Nepal record a massive victory against relegation threatened Cayman Islands then the run-rates will decide which sides are promoted.

Argentina, playing at Bologna for the third successive day, recorded 197 after captain Esteban MacDermott won the toss. Grant Dugmore fell just six runs short of a half-century, while opener Matias Paterlini made 37 before succumbing to the bowling of Kassim Nassoro.

Nassoro, 22, had a dazzling day producing a decisive spell for Tanzania taking 6-42 and claiming the key wickets of Pablo Ferguson, Dugmore and Gary Savage.

Tanzania's batting was once again led by the inform Seif Khalifa who struck a 41-ball 72 while ninth man in, Benson Mwita, showed his skills with the bat striking 46 alongside Khalil Rehmtullah who made 24 and hit the winning runs of the match.

Tanzania's young side, none of the team is over 26-years-old, have been on an upward turn since defeating Nepal on Tuesday and Cayman Islands on Wednesday. The three wicket win against Argentina was Tanzania's third win in a row and the result consequently relegated the South Americans.

Argentina coach Toby Bailey said, "I think we've lacked a bit of "x-factor' in this tournament and I think to win these games we had to had play the "complete cricket game' which unfortunately we didn't.

"I think Alejandro Ferguson's innings against Nepal was a highlight for the side in this tournament and I'm pleased with the guts all the batters have shown particularly on tougher surfaces that they're not necessarily used to play on.

"The side has put in 110 per cent for me and that was seen today when Grant Dugmore went out to bat with an injury that meant he couldn't run and managed to add an important 44 runs to our total.

"Looking ahead to tomorrow's game against USA we've got nothing to lose and I hope my boys come out firing on all cylinders in what is the final group match. We can play with freedom whereas they are perhaps under more pressure to succeed than any other team here".

Victorious Tanzania captain Hamisi Abdullah said, "Today was a great win for us and I feel we're continuing to improve as a side. When we first came in to this tournament I think we were a little nervous, especially looking back at our first defeat to USA but once we beat Nepal and realised what we are capable of as a team it's given us the impetus to keep getting better.

"I have to make mention of Kassim Nassoro today who took six wickets for us. He changed everything in the game by removing two of Argentina's key wickets in the 15th and 19th over, he was a real star for us today as was Seif Khalifa and Benson Mwita with their contributions with the bat.

"Tomorrow's game against Italy is a major one for us as it could see us promoted to Division 3. Italy has proven their strength with both bat and ball but I believe my boys have the skills to give them a good game as I'm sure they will provide us with a challenge".

At Pianoro, spectators saw a replay of February's Pepsi ICC WCL Div. 5 final when Nepal took on USA. Having won the toss, Steve Massiah decided to bat a decision he may have regretted when Orlando Baker departed for a second-ball duck at the hands of Mahesh Chhetri.

As the innings continued in the blistering heat of Bologna the USA had significant contributions from Lennox Cush and its in-form batsman – Sushil Nadkarni.

Cush departed on 32 after the quick reflexes of Basant Regmi claimed a caught and bowled as the all-rounder attempted a straight drive.

Nadkarni then held the innings together as the USA bottom order managed only 39 runs. The pick of the Nepalese bowlers were once again Regmi along with Sharad Vesawkar and Amrit Bhattarai – each claiming two wickets.

The Nepal innings did not start well with Anil Mandal, departing to a duck after being caught by substitute fielder Timroy Allen in the slips.

Allen proved himself to be a worthwhile substitute for the injured Nadkarni after he also caught Vesawkar -this time with a stunning leaping catch to his right at cover.

Things went from bad to worse for the Nepal side when the man steadying the ship departed to a stumping. Captain Paras Khadka was stumped by Carl Wright after skipping down the wicket and trying to sweep the ball but only striking fresh air.

Gyanendra Malla attempted to keep things going for the Nepal side hitting 39 runs but the side's run-rate never quite picked up with side requiring just under six runs an over and only managing two.

Massiah's catching proved equally as important as that of Allen's as he snaffled up the wickets of Pradeep Airee and Regmi off the bowling of Mohammed Ghous and Kevin Darlington.

Massiah said of the win today, "I'm obviously very happy with today performance but we can't rest on our laurels, it's important that we win tomorrow against Argentina and continue our winning momentum into the final.

"Today's game against Nepal was by no means easy, it was a hugely important game against the side and it was virtually a semi-final for us to guarantee ourselves a smoother path to promotion. I think our game is better suited to these surfaces because in the US we play on a lot of artificial wickets and in all fairness to Nepal they aren't accustomed to playing on artificial".



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