Jersey champions after win in final
Finals of World Cricket League tournaments can often be something of an anti-climax with both teams having already secured the main goal of promotion, and that was arguably the case today as Jersey won a one-sided final against Vanuatu on the Willowmoore Park Main Oval in Benoni.
Jersey batted first after they were put in and lost Nat Watkins early on for just three. Peter Gough and Jonty Jenner were removed from successive deliveries in the ninth over, leaving Jersey on 32-3. A partnership of 81 for the fourth wicket between Ben Stevens and Corey Bisson finally settled the Channel Islanders down.
That partnership ended when Bisson was out for 30, with Stevens then putting on another 72 for the fifth wicket with 16 year old Harrison Carlyon before he was out for 86. Carlyon himself scored 38 before he was run out, whilst a quick 47 from 30 balls by Cornelis Bodenstein helped take Jersey to 255 before they lost their final wicket in the 48th over.
In reply, Vanuatu lost Jonathon Dunn early on, which brought Patrick Matautaava to the crease fresh from match winning knocks in Vanuatu's previous two matches. There were no heroics this time though, as Matautaava was bowled by Ben Stevens for just 13.
Stevens went on to take 3-28 to complete a fine all round performance as Vanuatu were bowled out for 135, losing by 120 runs. Joshua Rasu top scored for them with 42, whilst Andrew Mansale had the only other significant contribution with 37.
Over on the A Field was the all important third place play-off between Italy and Qatar with the winners set to stay in Division Five and the losers joining fifth through eighth place in being relegated back to regional tournaments.
Italian captain Gayashan Munasinghe won the toss and chose to bat first, with opener Gian Meade helping the Italian cause with an innings of 62 before he was dismissed in the 38th over. Italy were perhaps scoring a little too slowly though, as at that point the score was 150-5.
Some impetus came down the order with Fida Hussain hitting an unbeaten 42 from just 31 balls to take Italy's total to 225-7 from their 50 overs. Iqbal Hussain was the pick of the Qatari bowlers with 3-51.
Qatar lost opener Qalander Khan early on in their reply, but kept themselves in the hunt with a 62 run second wicket partnership between Inam-ul-Haq and Kamran Khan, which ended when Khan was out for 43 from 35 balls.
Tamoor Sajjad kept up the run scoring with 54 from 46 balls - the top score of the Qatar reply - before he was the fourth man out. There may have been a little panic amongst the Qatar team when they were reduced to 208-6, but they held on thanks to a patient unbeaten 35 by Muhammad Tanveer and won by three wickets with 2.1 overs to spare and secure their place in the next WCL Division Five tournament, whenever that may be.
In the other play-off matches, Germany beat Guernsey to secure fifth place thanks to a fine unbeaten 123 by Venkatraman Ganesan, whilst Ghana beat the Cayman Islands by six wickets in the seventh place play-off.
Jersey and Vanuatu will join Bermuda, Denmark, Malaysia and Uganda in Division Four. No date or host has been set for the tournament, though Malaysia seems a likely host having hosted multiple World Cricket League tournaments in the past. Bermuda, Jersey and Uganda have also hosted WCL tournaments in the past, so the choice of host could well depend on the time of year the tournament is scheduled.
Whilst a European team won the tournament, what remains of the European development staff will no doubt be disappointed with the European performance in the tournament with the other three teams all relegated back to regional play. There are now just four European teams in the whole World Cricket League structure.