Friday 30 May 2008 

Afghanistan And Jersey Move On To WCL Division Four

Afghanistan and Jersey completed famous victories over highly rated opposition to seal their place in the ICC World Cricket League Division 4 in Tanzania.

The results, which saw both sides take a step closer to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, saw Afghanistan defeat Nepal by 37 runs and Jersey defeat USA by 84 runs.

Afghanistan fast bowler Hamid Hassan, who bowled an outstanding spell of 2-12 off 10 overs, was overjoyed with his side’s win.

“I am very happy about the game because it is a huge win. For four months we have been thinking about Division 4, so it is a dream come true to win.

“The (World Cup) dream is alive and we’ll try our best to get to 2011.”

Hassan added that he believed the victory would be greeted by wild celebrations back in his home country.

“The people in Afghanistan will be very happy and there will be huge celebrations. They will all be in the roads dancing and everything,” said Hassan.

“I am very happy and it is the proudest moment of my life because I challenged everybody in Afghanistan that if we lose then I would throw myself in the Atlantic. There is no need to do that now my team has qualified for Division 4” added coach Taj Malik.

Meanwhile Jersey skipper Matt Hague hailed his players after a shock defeat of the USA in front of a passionate home crowd as they overcame one of the tournament favourites.

“It feels absolutely fantastic. I am so proud of everybody today and putting 220 on the board batting first, when there was a fair bit in that wicket, was amazing,” said Hague.

“Peter Gough and Steve Carlyon got us off to a great start and runs on the board is always difficult to chase in a big game like this.

“The bowling performance was fantastic.Getting three wickets early on was very special.

“Ryan Driver bowled his 10 overs straight out and that us got us on the right track. They came hard at us, we stuck to our guns and did well.”

On a cloudy morning, Afghanistan perhaps surprisingly chose to bat first against Nepal and may soon have been regretting that decision as some excellent bowling from Binod Kumar Das helped dismiss both openers as it slumped to 40-4.

While Mohammad Stanikzai led the recovery with an excellent 48 off 64 balls, strong bowling from the Nepal team, in particular Shakti Gauchan (3-12) and Basant Regmi (3-30), prompted another late order collapse from Afghanistan as it slumped from 119-5 to 142 all out.

But Afghanistan has proved throughout the tournament that it possesses a fearsome bowling attack and once again they all provided valuable contributions.

Dawlat Ahmadzai (3-18), Hamid Hassan (2-12), Gul Abed (2-13) and Nabi Eisakhil (2-15) produced outstanding performances to destroy the Nepal batting order which had looked frail throughout the event prompting memorable scenes of jubilations that probably had never been seen at Grainville Cricket Ground before.

In the other semi-final, a brilliant opening stand of 122 between Jersey’s Peter Gough (65) and Steve Carlyon (45), who worked the ball around the large FB Fields outfield and ran between the wickets extremely aggressively, put the home side in an excellent position.

However, disciplined bowling from an experienced US attack helped restrict the home side to 220-5 when a larger total at one stage did seem possible, with Ryan Driver (28*) and skipper Matt Hague (25) making valuable contributions.

Imran Awan, who bowled with good pace, was the pick of the US bowlers with 2-37 off his 10 overs.

In reply, an inspired opening spell from Ryan Driver and Chris Jones reduced the highly regarded US top order, which have shown excellent form in this event, to 32-3.

With Jersey cheered on by a large local contingent, the US recovered in the middle order but lost the vital wicket of Rashard Marshall, who made 39 off 66 balls, including two sixes, to make it 99-5.

Captain Matt Hague then produced an outstanding bowling performance, taking a famous five-wicket haul, and fittingly sealed victory with the dismissal of Imran Awan.

Hague’s opposite number, Steve Massiah, was very disappointed but paid tribute to the performance of the home side.

“I personally do not want to take away anything from Jersey. It was a tremendous effort,” said US skipper Steve Massiah.

“I guess we remain in Division 5 and have to work our way back up from here. That is very disappointing as I thought before coming here that I was very optimistic that we would be able to come out one or two and move forward, but it is unfortunate, but that is part and parcel of life.”

© ICC