Guernsey fight back to clinch Division Six crown
Guernsey snatched victory from the jaws of defeat today to beat Malaysia and win WCL Div. 6 at Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur. By virtue of reaching the final both teams have been promoted to WCL Div. 5 and will travel to Singapore in February.
By winning the tournament, Guernsey has now climbed two places in the ICC Global Rankings to now occupy 33rd position while Malaysia occupy 34th place in the rankings. Guernsey did not lose a match throughout the entire week-long event held in Malaysia.
Guernsey's Jeremy Frith earned his third Player of the Tournament award at the conclusion of the game while team-mate Tom Kimber was named Man of the Match. Frith previously won the honour in WCL Div. 7 in Guernsey and then again in Singapore after WCL Div. 6 both in 2009.
Elsewhere, Kuwait defeated Jersey to win the third/fourth play-off while Nigeria claimed its only victory of the tournament when it beat Fiji the sides' fifth/sixth play-off at Bayeumas Oval.
Under another sunny sky at Kinrara Oval, Malaysia took on Guernsey in the finals of Div. 6 in Kuala Lumpur. The hosts winning the toss and electing to bat on home turf.
The hosts took its time to score runs and had just reached the 50-mark when Guernsey all-rounder dismissed opener Faris Almas by re-arranging the 21-year-old's stumps in the process. Rakesh Madhavan and Ahmed Faiz did their best to steady things for the locals but captain Suhan Alagaratnam failed to put in a repeat performance from yesterday's game, the 25-year-old making just four runs before smashing the ball in the air to be caught at deep point.
All-rounder Hammad Ullah Khan decided to step up to the plate, scoring 53 before being stumped off the bowling of GH Smit, the latter having a good day with the ball taking three wickets. Malaysia took its time to score runs in front of an enthusiastic bunch of supporters and by the time its 50 overs was completed had managed to just clear the 200 mark.
As the clouds rolled in and fear of rain began to surface, Guernsey took to the field and made an abysmal start to proceeding with both Smit and Adam Martel departing for ducks, leaving the side reeling two down going into the third over. The arrival of stalwart Frith alongside Tim Ravenscroft should have steadied the innings but Almas had other plans and proceeded to run out the latter for 21 much to the delight of the home support. The top order proved to be disappointing in the afternoon heat, Frith departing not long after Ravenscroft and the side were soon five down with just 40 runs on the board and not even in the 10th over.
Malaysia's trio of bowlers kept the opposition under pressure, Hassan Ghulam, Khan and Aminuddin Ramply continued to terrorise Guernsey's batting line-up while the side's quick actions in the field proved tough for the Channel Island side. The side promptly slumped to 65-7 before the 20th over had even begun
But all was not lose for Guernsey, a fight back from Tom Kimber and David Hooper saw the side push on the hosts with Hooper contributing some 45 runs before he was run-out while Kimber valiantly continued the side's push for victory alongside the side's tail-enders.
Kimber's starred with the bat for the men in green to snatch victory for the side when he smashed his way to an un-beaten 82 off 92 balls in a patient innings by the 21-year-old right-handed batsman. He guided the side to victory with three balls to spare and clinch an ecstatic Guernsey team the title of Pepsi ICC WCL Division 6 Champions.
Le Prevost said: ' It feels simply brilliant to win today and to have been six or seven down and then see young Tom Kimber come out and guide us to victory with a fantastic knock of 82 not out.
'We've had two extremely tough games of cricket against Malaysia and it's been a fantastic week to have won every game and walk away as champions. I'm extremely proud of how the team has performed as a whole and I hope we can keep that momentum going for Division 5 in Singapore.'
Player of the Tournament, Frith commented: 'It's obviously great to win another player of the tournament award but this week was very much a group effort and it is great to have won every game along the way and then to come out the end as champions too. I work with development of cricket in Guernsey and to see the likes of Tom Kimber, Jamie Nussbaumer, Tim Ravenscroft and David Hooper along with Ben Ferbrache come through this tournament and perform so well is pleasing.'
Malaysia captain, Suhan said: ' It's been a great week of cricket in Malaysia and it's obviously disappointing to have lost the final but Guernsey played some great cricket and Tom Kimber should be congratulated for great knock.
'We need to work on our batting ahead of going to Singapore in February and we'll take each game as it comes but I'd definitely like a chance to beat Guernsey next year in Division 5.'