Guernsey and Malaysia win promotion to Pepsi ICC WCL Div. 5
Jersey and Kuwait remain in Division 6 while Fiji and Nigeria are relegated to Division 7
Hosts Malaysia today secured promotion to Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 5 (WCL Div. 5) alongside Channel Island team Guernsey. Despite losing its fixture today against Guernsey, both sides will still be travelling to Singapore in February to take part in Division 5.
Jersey and Kuwait will remain in Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 6 (WCL Div. 6), while Fiji and Nigeria have been relegated into Division 7. Nigeria failed to win one game in the round-robin section of Division 6 in Malaysia while the Fijians managed just one victory during the tournament.
Tomorrow will see Malaysia take on Guernsey for the title of Pepsi ICC WCL Div. 6 winners at Kinrara Oval, while Jersey will play Kuwait for 3rd/4th place and Fiji will play Nigeria for 5th/6th place. The abandoned game between Nigeria and Guernsey will not be replayed, since the fixture's result would have no bearing on the final promotion or relegation of any side involved in the competition.
Under bright blue skies at Kinrara Oval, hosts Malaysia took on fellow top of the table side Guernsey, captain Suhan Alagaratnam took the decision to bat first, which saw the side slump to 170-9 in its 50 overs,
Stuart Bisson and Lee Savident started well with the new ball for the Channel Island side, combining to dismiss the Malaysian top three with ease. Savident sent both Rakesh Madhavan and Ahmad Faiz on their way in the fourth over, with the latter departing for a duck after Savident tempted the 23-year-old to edge the ball to wicketkeeper Tom Kimber.
It was then up to Suhan to come in and lead the team by example, which the 25-year-old did, completing the innings on 68 not out while the rest of his team fell in the morning sunshine to a variety of bowlers. All-rounder Jeremy Frith provided his useful slow left-arm spin clearing up the lower order in the form of Aminudin Lamly who departed also for a duck while Suresh Navaratnam and Nik Arfin managed to add just 21 runs to the total.
Guernsey set about the task of chasing down the target in the afternoon heat with GH Smit and Savident combing to knock some 50 runs off the target before Smit departed in the ninth over as in-form bowler Eszrafiq Azis had the 35-year-old right-hander caught by Navaratnam.
Navaratnam, just a few overs later, departed the field after fracturing his finger while attempting to catch a ball off his own bowling leaving the Malaysians without one of their star bowlers for the remainder of the match.
Jeremy Frith failed to fire today, dismissed for a duck, so it was up to Tim Ravenscroft and Ross Kneller to ensure the runs were made for Guernsey and after Ravenscroft's departure along with his captain, Stuart Le Prevost, soon after, it was up to Kneller and Ben Ferbrache to steer the side to victory as the sun began to set over Kuala Lumpur.
Captain Le Prevost said: " It obviously feels fantastic to be promoted to Division 5 and to have all our hard work pay-off. I think we've had a really good all-round week with both our batting and our bowling - Jeremy Frith has been great as usual plus Lee Savident and Ben Ferbrache have also shown great stuff out in the field for Guernsey.
"I think we still have plenty we can work on ahead of Singapore in February but I'm extremely proud of how we've performed today and throughout the week, here's hoping we can round off tomorrow by winning the trophy."
Meanwhile, Suhan the captain of Malaysia added: " We've played well this week but our batting has let us down in the last few games so we definitely need to pick that up both ahead of tomorrow's final against Guernsey and ahead of our trip to Singapore in February.
"It feels great to be promoted out of Division 6 especially after how close we came as a side in 2009 when the tournament was held in Singapore. Hopefully we can continue to improve and win promotion in February too."
At Bayeumas Oval, Nigeria faced up to fellow Division 7 promoted side, Kuwait and Endurance Ofem's side looked to have finally found two men who had discovered their batting form for the Africans.
Player-coach Sean Philips led by example scoring 61 before being bowled by Mohammed Naseer while Olajide Bejide managed 42 today before being run-out by a quick thinking Sibtain Raza. The rest of the Nigerian batting line-up failed to sparkle as Naseer and Saad Khalid proved key, removing top order batsmen Varun Behani and Ramit Gill for low totals and restricting the Africans to 182 in its 50 overs.
In response, Kuwait's batsmen stepped up to the plate and the opening partnership of Abid Mushtaq and Irfan Bhatti piled on 99 runs before Abid departed for 66. Sibtain Raza then assisted Bhatti to make sure the runs became within easy reach and despite a small collapse by the middle-order, including captain Hisham Mirza the side claimed victory by five wickets. Mention should be made of Adekunle Adegbola who claimed match figures of 2-6 in his three overs, including one maiden.
At Selangor Turf Club, Peter Gough's Jersey set Fiji a healthy target of 248 at the ground that is surrounded by the Selangor horseracing course. Dean Morrison was back in his usual opening spot despite his match-winning effort in the middle-order yesterday but the 33-year-old was not to be as lucky with the bat, managing just 11 while Ed Farley made just four runs.
Ben Stevens made his first real impact with the bat today, the 19-year-old managing to score 37 runs before edging a ball to Maciu Gauna behind the stumps for Fiji. Corey Bisson managed just 18 runs today and thus captain Gough accompanied by Sam de la Haye put in important innings with the bat, the pair contributing 108 runs to the fifth-wicket partnership.
After Gough's departure, de la Haye added another 32 runs alongside Anthony Hawkins-Kay but Joe Rika's catching skills proved in fine form at Selangor, the Fijian captain catching both Gough and de la Haye to send them packing.
In chasing down the target, Fiji set about the task with aplomb, going after every ball and the side's attitude paid off with the side just two wickets down in the 21st over and 122 runs on the board. Brothers Colin and Joe Rika rotated the strike for the third-wicket partnership and adding 57 runs to the total in the process.
After Colin's departure, Joe continued to perform, scoring a half-century that included some big hitting from the Fijian left-hander but despite the side going all out to chase down the total, even the tail-enders couldn't quite make it to the target and the side fell just 28 runs short of victory to add to the misery of relegation. Stevens and Charles Perchard did well for the Jersey side, the duo picking up three wickets each to help Jersey to maintain its Division 6 berth.
Winning for a third day in a row, captain Gough said: "It's been a tough week for us where we had some close games early on in the week which we could have won and now three wins on the trot. I'm pleased we've manage to maintain our position in Division 6, it's been a tough few World Cricket Leagues for us with trips to Nepal and Tanzania and now here but I'm happy with our performances this week.
"I think one of the positives we can take away from this week is the way the side batted as a unit. It wasn't about just relying on one player to do the job, it things went wrong up the top then someone down the order would step up and there was always one or two players who made sure we got the runs, that's been a really pleasing aspect of this tournament."
Fiji's assistant coach Taione Cakacaka said: "It has been a disappointing week, but it was great the boys were able to finally show some of the form we know they are capable of today against Jersey. They showed spirit and they went down fighting. We'll go back to Fiji now and review the tournament and also the preparation leading up to it and go from there. We know that we can rebuild from this and get Fiji back into the higher divisions where it belongs."
Tomorrow's play-offs will be as follows:
1st/2nd - Malaysia v Guernsey (Kinrara Oval)
3rd/4th - Kuwait v Jersey (Selangor Turf Club)
5th/6th - Fiji v Nigeria (Bayeumas Oval)
All matches start at 1030 local time (0230 GMT)
Score in brief for Match Day Five
At Kinrara Oval
Malaysia 170-9, 50 overs (Alagaratnam 68 not out; 3-16 Frith)
Guernsey 174-5, 45.4 overs (Savident 40, Kneller 35 not out)
Guernsey won by five wickets
At Selangor Turf Club
Jersey 247-6, 50 overs (Stevens 37, Gough 55, de la Haye 63; Tawsheed 2-32)
Fiji 219 all out, 43.5 overs (J Rika 52; Stevens 3-52, Perchard 3-26)
Jersey won by 28 runs
At Bayeumas Oval
Nigeria 182-8, 50 overs (Philips 61, Bejide 42; Naseer 3-20)
Kuwait 183-5, 30.2 overs (Bhatti 73, Mushtaq 66; Adegbola 2-6)
Kuwait won by five wickets
Points Table as of 23 September excluding Nigeria v Guernsey abandoned game
Pepsi ICC WCL Division 6 Points Table