Denmark and Italy remain in ICC WCL Div 4

Fri, Jun 27, 2014 3:28 PM

Denmark and Italy remain in ICC WCL Div 4
A dramatic finish to the WCL-4 saw league leaders, Denmark, slip on the last day and miss out on promotion. Italy avoided back to back demotion by securing a second win. Both regional teams, Singapore and Malaysia secured promotion at the expense of Jersey and Oman, both of which were relegated.

At Kallang, Malaysia opted to field first and made full use of the overcast conditions They reduced Oman to 65 for 4 in 21 overs as Zeeshan Maqsood, 45, and captain Sultan Ahmed, 55, picked up the pieces. Some quick runs from Amir Ali, 30, pushed their total to 198.

In reply, Malaysia looked determined from the onset. Nasir Shafiq came out all guns blazing with a brisk 38 of 24 balls. After the openers fell, captain Ahmed Faiz, 70, once again took over the reins. He featured in two 50-plus stands with Suhan Alagaratnam, 26, and Suharril Fetri, 46 not out. Malaysia made it home comfortably with 46 deliveries to spare.

Bilal Asad, coach of the Malaysian unit, was pleased with his team’s professional display: “Looking at all three matches (early on), like how Denmark’s game was going, it looked like Italy would win. Singapore also looked like they would win. So our plan was just to win.”

He praised his captain who has been in prolific run-scoring form: “Basically it’s the responsibility that he is showing. He has grown immensely from the last 3 tournaments. Plan was for him to stay for long in the middle while the rest of the team batted around him; a role he is doing very well.”

Nasir Shafiq also won his praise: “He has been our main scorer since Div 6 and it’s through him that we do our attacking.”

Suharril Fitri has been performing well with both bowl and bat: “One name that should not be forgotten is Suharril. He has been playing well down the order. So it’s a brilliant team effort.”

SCC was the arena for a major upset as Italy overcame the mighty Danes. As a consequence, Denmark who was looking favourite for promotion was denied and Italy saved themselves from back to back demotions.

The game started with Denmark losing early wickets and it was Amjad Khan, 73, and Shehzad Ahmed, 55, who applied a rear guard action. They got the total up to a respectable 236.

However, conditions were heavily in favour of batting and Italy looked imposing from the onset. Dinidu Marage, 82, and Andy Northcote, 73, put up a 150 run opening stand which took the game away from Denmark. They won with 8 overs to spare leaving Denmark gutted.

The game of the day was played at Indian Association. After reducing Jersey to 23 for 3, Singapore got themselves into big trouble; first by conceding 224 runs and then losing 4 wickets for just 56 runs. What followed next was a stupendous turn around. Opener Chaminda Kumarage, 112 not out, and wicket keeper Kshitij Shinde, 79, combined to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Jersey’s batsmen looked to have posted a decent total thanks to a 155 run stand between Nat Watkins, 73, and Dean Morrison, 77. At one stage Jersey were looking good for 250 plus but Mulewa Dharmichand provided the breakthrough and Abhiraj Singh picked up 4 vital wickets to restrict Jersey to 224 runs.

The emotional finish was well received by the home crowd. Captain Saad Khan Janjua said he was “feeling over the moon”.

Singapore Coach, Salahuddin, couldn't hide his joy either. He charged into the field as the winning runs were scored: “Really feeling well. First match we lost then we came back strongly. This tournament was tougher than ACC because teams are much stronger, but we played well in the last 4 games.”

Chaminda became the first batsman to score a hundred in the tournament and was the star rescuing his team for the second consecutive game: “No matter what we had to win the game. Bit of pressure when we lost 4 early wickets. But when Kshitij came we had a good partnership and he took pressure off me when I was struggling. He played very well.”

Kshitij Shinde proved to be a big match player hitting form at the most vital of times: “Of course it feels it great. It feels good to be in form at the right time. Training was going on always but it’s good to peak at the right moment.”

With that win, Singapore and Malaysia booked their tickets to Uganda to compete in WCL-3. Chaminda added his preference (or the lack of it) for airplane seat: “I don’t care any seat. I can go foot boarding also.”

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