Nepal advance to qualifiers
Italy 127-9Nepal clinched their place in next year’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament, winning a third straight match to finish ahead of the United States on net run rate at St David’s.
Nepal, who lost their first two matches to United States and Uganda, restricted Italy to 127-9 in their 50 overs and then reached their target in just 14.5 overs.
Sitting third in the standings after four matches, Nepal needed a convincing victory and Bermuda to beat the US in order to finish second. Chasing 128 for victory, openers Subash Khakurel and Pradeep Airee wasted no time, putting on an 87-run partnership in 12 overs. Then captain Paras Khadka smashed 22 from only eight balls, while Gyanendra Malla struck a six and a four to be at the crease alongside Airee (42 not out) when the side reached their target in the 15th over. Luis Di Giglio and Fida Hussain took one wicket apiece.
Earlier, Italy started slowly as openers Hayden Patrizi (4) and Andrew Northcote (10) went cheaply before number three bat Damian Crowley departed for three to make the score 22-3. Stalwarts Peter Petricola (31) and Carl Sandri (39) increased the run rate, but a decisive three-wicket haul by Rahul Vishwakarma tore through the vital middle order to leave Italy struggling again at 108 for six in the 37th over. While no other batsmen made significant contributions, Italy batted out their innings for the first time in the tournament. Sanjam Regmi captured three for 32, but it was Vishwakarma’s three for 28 that was adjudged the Man of the Match performance.
Nepal skipper Khadka was pleased that his side’s hard work has paid off with a top two finish. “We had to make sure that we put down a good run rate,” he said.
“Pressure is always there, after having lost both the first two games so we had to step it up. Hats off to the boys for having played so well and for their determination. We had to wait for the results of the other matches, and then it happened for us. They say that when you work hard, things and luck work for you. That’s what we believe in and it worked for us.”
Uganda 163-9In Saturday’s other match Oman shocked the previously undefeated Uganda by seven wickets at Somerset CC, though it wasn’t enough to prevent them from being relegated to Division 4.
While Uganda had already qualified for the final after defeating the USA by 82 runs on Thursday, Oman was playing for victory to climb out of the bottom two places.
After electing to bat, Uganda lost three cheap early wickets to be struggling at 32 for three in the ninth over. Opener Arthur Kyobe top scored with 42, before Syed Amir Ali trapped Laurence Sematimba and Deusdedit Muhumuza lbw to make it 73 for six in the space of four overs.
Captain Davis Arinaitwe again steadied the ship with a well-played 23, and a resurgence by the lower order saw Richard Okia (18) and Frank Nsubuga (31) add vital runs to help Uganda reach a total of 163 for nine from its fifty overs. Oman’s Ansari, Amir Ali and Aamir Kaleem took two wickets each.
In reply, Oman overcame the loss of two early wickets to chase down the total in 39 overs. An unbeaten 69 from Zeehsan Siddiqui and 47 from captain Vaibhav Wategaonkar ensured that the fifth-ranked team secured the only victory over Uganda in the tournament. Siddiqui was named man of the match.
Oman captain Wategaonkar was pleased with his side’s improved performance, though disappointed with the team’s relegation. “The bowlers again did a great job, and luckily the batsman had clicked for this match, so the score was chased easily. So I am happy with the performance,” Wategaonkar said.
“Today, somehow the top order clicked better, and the mindset was better. It’s not much, but its ok — but we should have chased previous totals also.”
Uganda skipper Davis Arinaitwe remained positive despite his side’s loss. “We thought we would give a couple of the guys a go, get a change to get a lift in the tournament, try out a few different combinations, and play without any pressure,” said Arinaitwe.