Italy, Germany, Jersey and Qatar got off to winning starts in the opening round of games in the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 as all teams begun their qualification journey to the Cricket World Cup 2023.
With two teams earning promotion, five teams being relegated and one team remaining in the division, it was key for all sides to get off to a good start.
The Italy batsman hit a brilliant ten fours and one six as he scored 92 off just 103 balls to set Italy on the way to 277 for seven from 50 overs. In reply, Guernsey scored 229 for eight with Oliver Newey (73) top scoring for the team from the Channel Islands side but it was not enough.
Italy won the toss and opted to bat first and opening pair Gian Meade and Rakibul Hasan put on 19 runs before Meade was trapped LBW by Matthew Stokes for eight. Peter Petricola then came in and added 12 before he was dismissed by Newey to leave Italy on 57 for two. But then came the big hitting Crowley who took the game to Guernsey with his big shots with 46 of his 92 runs going to the boundary. Crowley was supported in the middle by Joy Perera (27 not out) and Hasnat Ahmed (21) as Italy finished on 277.
In reply, Italy got off to an excellent start with the wicket of Stokes from the bowling of Gayashan Munasinghe for just four to leave Guernsey five runs for one wicket in the second over. Josh Butler and Newey put on a good partnership before Petricola took his first wicket of the innings when he bowled Butler for 23. Lucas Barker (28) and Jason Martin (10) supported Newey before Ahmed took the prize wicket of the Guernsey batsman. David Hooper (26) and Jamie Nussbaumer (15) tried to chase down the total at the end, but ultimately Guernsey fell 48 runs short on 229.
Italy captain Munasinghe, said: “We are happy with the result, but I think we have to improve our batting and our fielding.
“We dropped one too many catches and maybe 20 to 30 runs short. The pitch was set up for batting. I think 280 runs will be a par score on this type of pitch.”
While Nussbaumer of Guernsey felt the toss played an important part, he said: “They got a few too many runs for us.
“Losing the toss did not help, we would like to have batted first. We were ticking along quite nicely in our chase but we kept losing wickets. We just wanted to get as many runs on the board for our net run rate.”
At Willowmoore Park C, Germany won the toss and restricted Ghana to 158 all out from just 42 overs.
In reply, Germany’s opening batsman Daniel Weston made a good start with his 47, but he was unable to build a decent partnership before being run out in the thirteenth over. Vincent Ateak was the pick of the Ghanaian bowlers with three for 40, but Ahmed Wardak (8 not out) and Shahil Momin (1 not out) saw Germany to the narrowest of victories.
Germany captain Rishi Pillai praised his bowlers for their efforts, he said: “I think we hit the right areas and we bowled really well. I thought Sajid Liaqat bowled really well at the top and then our spinners got us back into the game.”
Meanwhile, Ghana’s Peter Ananya, said: “We had a bad day today, things did not go our way and they took their chances, but I thought we were unlucky to lose the game.”
On Willowmoore Park B, Jersey got off to a winning start with a convincing six-wicket victory over Vanuatu.
Jersey captain Charles Perchard won the toss and opted to put Vanuatu into bat and at first it may have seemed like a risk as Jonathon Dunn and Joshua Rasu put on 26 before Jersey got the first breakthrough in the ninth over when Ben Stevens (5-28) trapped Rasu LBW.
Dunn and Patrick Matautaava (39) helped Vanuatu to 103 before they lost their second wicket. Elliot Miles broke the partnership when he bowled Matautaava and then Vanuatu collapsed as none of the remaining batsmen managed to get into double figures with the side eventually bowled out for 170.
In reply, Peter Gough hit ten fours on his way to 65 and Corey Bisson (37 not out) was left to get Jersey over the line in just 34.2 overs and with six wickets in hand.
Jersey skipper Perchard said: “Things went well today. The boys stuck at it really well, Ben Stevens obviously bowled really well for his five-fer and the players backed it up with some excellent fielding.
“Some good batting has got us over the line. We have acclimatised really well and I thought all the players were ready today.”
But Vanuatu’s Andrew Mansale thought his side underperformed with the bat, he said: “We didn’t do well with the bat and we did not put enough runs on the board, but we will learn from this and you never lose a tournament in the first game.”
At the Sahara Main Oval in Kingsmead, Qatar beat Cayman Islands by 93 runs to get its week off to a winning start.
Batting first, Qatar scored an impressive 343 for seven from its 50 overs thanks to big scores from Khurram Shahzad (94) and Dharmang Patel (93) to set up an imposing total. Cayman Islands did get off to a good start with Qatar openers Faisal Javid Khan (10) and Inam-ul-Haq (8) dismissed early on with the score 16 for two. But nine fours and two sixes from Shahzad and a further 14 boundaries from Patel helped put Qatar in control.
In reply, Cayman Islands were unable to match Qatar’s big hitting batting line-up with five batsmen failing to get into double figures. Conroy Wright (74 not out) put up some fight, but the Caribbean side fell 93 runs short on 250 for eight after 50 overs.
Qatar’s Inam-ul-Haq said: “Our guys played really well and our secret was just hard work.”
And Cayman Islands captain Ramon Sealy, said: “It was a good game, but we dropped a few catches and they scored 40 runs too many for us and it got away from us.”
Scores in brief
Italy beat Guernsey by 48 runs at Willowmoore Park, Benoni
Italy 277-7, 50 overs (Damian Crowley 92, Rakibul Hasan 39, Manpreet Singh 31; David Hooper 3-50)
Guernsey 229-8, 50 overs (Oliver Newey 73, Ben Ferbrach 29; Madupa Fernando 2-35, Carl Sandri 2-45)
Germany beat Ghana by one wicket at Willowmoore Park C, Benoni
Ghana 158 all out, 42 overs (Obed Agbomadzie 25, Frank Baleri 29; Asad Mohammad 3-30, Sajid Liaqat 3-38)
Germany 159-9, 38.5 overs (Daniel Weston 47, Amith Sarma 26; Obed Agbomadzie 3-28, Vincent Ateak 3-40)
Jersey beat Vanuatu by six wickets at Willowmoore Park B, Benoni
Vanuatu 170 all out, 50 overs (Jonathon Dunn 76, Patrick Matautaava 39; Ben Stevens 5-28, Charles Perchard 1-28)
Jersey 174-4, 34.2 overs (Peter Gough 65, Corey Bisson 37; Wesley Viraliliu 2-21, Patrick Matautaava 1-25)
Qatar beat Cayman Islands by 93 runs at Sahara Main Oval, Kingsmead
Qatar 343-7, 50 overs (Dharmang Patel 93, Khurram Shahzad 93; Troy Taylor 2-60, Ricardo Roach 1-7)
Cayman Islands 250-8, 50 overs (Conroy Wright 74 not out, Omar Willis 51; Imran Ashraf 2-27, Iqbal Hussain 1-22)
TEAM M W L T P
Qatar 1 1 0 0 2
Italy 1 1 0 0 2
Guern 1 0 1 0 0
Caym 1 0 1 0 0
TEAM M W L T P
Jersey 1 1 0 0 2
Ger 1 1 0 0 2
Ghana 1 0 1 0 0
Van 1 0 1 0 0
4 September: Group A: Guernsey v Cayman Islands (Willowmoore B), Italy v Qatar (Willowmoore C)
Group B: Jersey v Germany (Sahara Main Oval), Vanuatu v Ghana (Willowmoore A),