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Afghanistan, USA And Nepal Off To Winning Starts

Tournament favourites Afghanistan, Nepal and USA recorded comfortable victories on the opening day of the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 (WCL Div. 5) in Jersey on Friday. Afghanistan survived a middle-order collapse to beat Japan by 93 runs, Nepal defeated Germany by seven wickets and the USA beat Mozambique by nine wickets. Hosts Jersey also enjoyed success on a bright and sunny day when it beat Singapore by 93 runs while Norway beat Vanuatu by 183 runs and Botswana defeated the Bahamas by 70 runs. At the Victoria College against Japan, Afghanistan suffered a sensational middle-order collapse when it was bowled out for 179 in 35.4 overs after being 137-3 at one stage. Takuro Hagihara was the pick of Japan bowlers with 5-25 while for Afghanistan opener Karim Khan Sedeq top scored with 47. In turn, Japan was bowled out for 80 in 40.2 overs with Hasti Gul Abed bagging 3-22. Afghanistan coach Taj Malik was pleased with his side’s performance and said he never thought his team was in trouble despite posting a small total. “We discussed with the players during the innings break that the pitch was assisting the fast bowlers and if Japan could get us for 180 runs then we should be able to bowl them out for less than 100 runs,” he told the ICC in a post-match interview. Nepal, which boasts players who performed well at the recent ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup in Malaysia, was in excellent form when it defeated Germany by seven wickets. Set a modest target of 70 runs at the Les Quennevais 1, Nepal raced to victory in 20.2 overs with opener Mahesh Chhetri stroking an unbeaten 23. Earlier, 25-year-old spinner Basant Regmi took 3-4 and Mahaboob Alam claimed 3-24 as Germany was bowled out in 39.4 overs. Skipper Binod Kumar Das, who bowled an excellent opening spell, was delighted with his team’s effort. “I am happy for my team because it was important for us to get a good start in this tournament which we did. “We did well with the ball initially and though I think we could have batted better, a win is a win and I am happy it came so comfortably.” At the Farmers Field, the USA defeated a spirited Mozambique by nine wickets. The feature of the match was a superb knock of 70 not out by Sushil Nadkarni as the USA achieved the 149-run target in 21.4 overs. Captain Steve Messiah was pleased with his team’s performance in its first match in almost two years. “It’s the start we were looking for. We have been out of international cricket for a couple of years and we are now looking forward to moving from strength to strength,” said Messiah. “Every game will be a big game for us if we are going to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in the Asian subcontinent. And this is where it all begins for us.” Elsewhere, host Jersey defeated Singapore by 93 runs with the home team opener Peter Gough picking up the man of the match award for his 69 that included seven boundaries. Norway captain Shahid Ahmed was the only centurion of the day with a brilliant 133 not out to guide his team to 360-3 in 50 overs against Vanuatu. Ahmed then completed a fine all-round performance when he claimed 3-11 as Vanuatu was dismissed for 177. The finalists from this tournament will be promoted to the ICC World Cricket League Division 4 thus joining Hong Kong, Fiji, Tanzania and Italy in a six-team event that will take place in the Tanzanian capital Dar Es Salaam from 4 to 11 October. In turn, the top two teams from that tournament will progress to WCL Div. 3 in Argentina next January and then the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2009 in the UAE, which incorporates Divisions 1 and 2. At the end of that tournament, the top four Associate or Affiliate teams in the world will be booking their places at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 to be staged in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Those four will join the 10 Full Members to decide the top one-day side in the world. Group A At Farmers CC, USA beat Mozambique by nine wickets Mozambique 148-7, 50 overs USA 150-1, 27.4 overs (Sushil Nadkarni 70 not out, Orlando Baker 37) At Les Quennevais 1, Nepal beat Germany by seven wickets Germany 69 all out, 39.4 overs (Basant Regmi 3-4, Mahaboob Alam 3-24) Nepal 70-3, 20.2 overs At FB Fields, Norway beat Vanuatu by 183 runs. Norway 360-3, 50 overs (Shahid Ahmed 133 not out, Zaheer Ashiq 39, Sameer Sachdev 64, , Muhammad Zeeshan Ali 77 not out) Vanuatu 177 all out, 39.5 overs (Andrew Mansale 41, S Obed 36, Shahid Ahmed 3-11) Group B At Victoria College, Afghanistan beat Japan by 93 runs. Afghanistan 179 all out, 35.4 overs (Karim Khan Sedeq 47, Takuro Hagihara 5-26) Japan 86 all out, 40.2 overs (Hasti Gul Abed 3-22) At Grainville, Jersey beat Singapore by 93 runs Jersey 189 all out, 49.4 overs (Peter Gough 69; Anish Edward Param 3-21, Mohd Rizwan Nasir Madakia 3-28) Singapore 96 all out, 41.4 overs (Christopher Janik 34; Tony Carlyon 4-12) At Les Quennevais 2, Bahamas beat Botswana by 70 runs. Botswana 205 all out, 48.2 overs (S Mohiyuddin 40, J Moses 40; N Ekanayake 3-47) Bahamas 135 all out, 36 overs © ICC
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