Jersey continued their unbeaten run in WCL Division 6 with a crushing 8-wicket victory over Argentina at Grainville, all but assuring their promotion to WCL Division 5.
Man-of-the-match Ben Stevens starred with both bat and ball, taking a 5-wicket haul and then making a classy 67 off 61 balls, including a 6 and seven boundaries, as Jersey romped to Argentina’s total of 176 with 20 overs to spare.
Fielding first for the 4th time in this tournament, Corne Bodenstein’s sharp opening spell got the ball rolling for the Islanders, picking up the wickets of the in-form Pablo Ferguson (2) and Hernan Williams (14) with some hostile fast bowling to leave Argentina 34-2.
Martin Siri (78 off 113 balls, seven 4s) then fought hard to rebuild the Argentinian innings, putting on a solid 60-run partnership with Bernardo Irigoyen (36 off 32 balls, four 4s, one 6) to lead his side to 162-4 in the 43rd over and seemingly well set for a score in excess of 200.
But left-arm spinner Stevens had other ideas, tearing through the middle and lower order as Argentina collapsed to 176 all out in the space of a mere 19 balls.
Stevens then compounded Argentina’s woes by piling on a game-winning 131 runs for the 2nd wicket with skipper Peter Gough (69* off 87 balls, nine 4s), putting the Argentinian attack to the sword with a flamboyant display of stroke-making, as Jersey cruised to victory and all but booked their place in Sunday’s final.
Captain Gough said, ‘At 160-4 we thought we’d be chasing 220 but then Benny (Stevens) did a great job with the ball, taking 4 wickets for barely any runs. The pitch then got better to bat on in the 2nd innings and it was a pleasure to bat with Stevo. He times it so well, boundaries come, he runs well and he moves the field around.
‘Vanuatu on Saturday is a huge game for us. We want to win five from five so that’s like our final. We know they’re a good side and we’re looking forward to playing them.’
Argentina’s captain Billy MacDermott said, ‘Jersey outplayed us today. We had one good partnership and Martin batted really well, but they were good with the ball and they fielded tightly. Our total was never enough and they came out batting positively and they deserved the win.’
Elsewhere Nigeria bounced back from their heavy defeat to Jersey yesterday with a resounding 8-wicket wicket win over Bahrain at Farmers Field, keeping their promotion hopes alive.
Saheed Akolade (6-27 in 8 overs) produced an inspired display of fast bowling to rip through the Bahraini batting line-up, with only three batsmen reaching double figures in a total of 104 in 33 overs. Oluseye Olympio also impressed with ball, returning figures of 3-23 in 10 overs.
Nigeria then knocked off the runs with minimum fuss, opener Segun Olayinka making 50* in 80 balls, including four 4s and a 6, as victory was secured in 28.1 overs.
Nigeria’s skipper Adekunle Adegbola said, ‘Saheed’s bowling was awesome today and Oluseye did a great job in supporting him. Segun also occupied the crease well and did a good job for the team. Our last game now is against Argentina and there is nothing more or less for us than to be victorious. We’re going to give it our best to finish in the top two.’
Bahrain’s vice-captain, Anil Hanif, who stood in as skipper today for the injured Yaser Sadeq, said, ‘We weren’t up to the mark today. Our shot-selection was poor and this has been our problem throughout the whole tournament.
‘Our bowlers are doing a fantastic job and our fielding is good but our batsmen are continuously making the same mistakes. They’re getting set but then throwing their wickets away with rash shots. Credit to Nigeria though, they bowled and fielded well and took some good catches.’
Meanwhile Vanuatu kept themselves in the hunt for promotion with a comprehensive 5-wicket victory over Kuwait at FB Fields.
17-year old Nalin Nipiko, who captains the Vanuatu under-19s side, picked up the man-of-the-match award for his 4-30 in 8 overs as Vanuatu dismissed Kuwait for a mere 107 runs in 24.3 overs. Irfan Bhatti (31 off 37 balls, seven 4s) was only one of three Kuwaitis to reach double figures as Jelany Chilia also chipped in with 3 wickets for only 4 runs in 2.3 overs.
Nipiko (25 off 20 balls, four 4s) then contributed with the bat as he combined with yesterday’s centurion Andrew Mansale, who continued his good run of form with an unbeaten 39 from 53 balls, to take Vanuatu to a comfortable win in the 27th over.
Man-of-the-match Nipiko said, ‘I think the boys bowled really well today and we restricted Kuwait to a low total which was comfortable for us to chase down. I was really pleased with my personal performance because the ball was swinging around and I managed to control it well. We’re looking forward to the game against Jersey on Saturday and the boys will give it their best.’
Kuwait’s vice-captain Kashif Sharif, standing in for the injured Hisham Mirza, said, ‘Our batsmen didn’t perform today, similar to previous matches. The playing conditions are very different between here and Kuwait and we’re used to playing lots of T20 cricket so it’s been difficult adapting to 50 overs. Our bowlers have done well here but our batting has totally flopped.’
Tomorrow is a rest day and Saturday’s final round of matches will see Jersey take on Vanuatu at Farmers Field in a top-of-the-table clash, Nigeria meet Argentina in a crunch game at Grainville and Bahrain face Kuwait at FB Fields.
All matches start at 1100 BST.