May 25, 2008

World Cricket League

USA and Afghanistan power on

Martin Williamson

Khawaja Shuja after taking 5 for 15 for USA against Norway © Cricket Europe
While there was frustration that yesterday's rain caused all but one of the second round matches to be carried into what should have been a rest day, Nepal's Mahaboob Alam was not complaining after taking 10 for 12 in 7.5 overs against Mozambique. Chasing Nepal's 238 for 7, Mozambique managed a paltry 19 to slump to a 219-run victory. Click here for more.

It was again a day for the favourites as, in addition to Nepal, there were wins for Afghanistan, USA and Jersey.

Former West Indies batsman Clayton Lambert, coach of the USA team, hailed his side as they comprehensively beat Norway by 10 wickets but said that the players were not going to become over confident despite two comfortable wins. "We're not going to underestimate anybody. We're the ones who have played a higher level of cricket so everyone expects us to win so there is a lot of pressure on," said Lambert.

The USA bowling attack looked extremely threatening with the wickets shared around its pace attack. Khawaja Shuja, the 19-year-old right-arm fast medium bowler, was the pick with figures of 5 for 15, although Steve Pitter (2 for 24) and Imran Awan (2 for 36) were also looking dangerous with some aggressive short-pitched bowling.

"Some of the short balls were the right length for the wicket and the guys did a great job of putting the balls on a correct length," said Lambert. "Some balls bounced and Norway didn't seem to have played against the bouncing balls a whole lot so it worked in our favour." In reply, the USA coasted to their target in just 14.5 overs with Sushil Nadkarni (41*) and Orlando Baker (32*) looking in fine form.

Eighteen-year-old Gulbudeen Naib was the hero for Afghanistan as he took 5 for 7, including a hat-trick to close the innings, as Bahamas managed just 46 all out. And although they too suffered a batting collapse, Afghanistan secured victory by five wickets after 6.3 overs as they attempted to score quick runs to improve their run-rate, with Mario Ford claiming 3 for 5.

"I was very happy to receive my Man-of-the-Match award for Afghanistan and I would like to pay tribute to my captain, team and coach who have helped me achieve this," said Naib. "It was the first ever hat-trick for Afghanistan so I am very happy," he added. "I am sure my friends and family back at home will be very proud."

Matt Hague produced a captain's performance for Jersey in their eight-wicket win over Japan taking 4 for 26 with the ball and scoring 27 not out with the bat. He played his part in reducing Japan to 124 for 8 in 50 overs before helping Peter Gough, who made 59 not out, reach Jersey's target with 15.5 overs to spare. "It was a really good performance. After yesterday when we got off to such a good start batting we wanted to get in a game today and get a win on the board," said Hague.

In the other game of the day, Singapore registered their first victory of the event with an exciting win by three wickets over Botswana. Buddhika Oshanka made 79 as Singapore reached a target of 184 with 2.3 overs to spare.


Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Posted by Hemanta on (May 26, 2008, 6:33 GMT)

Nepal must improve their batting before thinking about world Cup.It is hard to believe that they have only one turf pitch all over Nepal. But they are producing extra-ordinary players and results by defeating New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan in U-19 world cup. CAN must invest a lot of money on infrastructure and Facility.

Posted by Sohrab on (May 26, 2008, 4:28 GMT)

Team USA has come out of the darkness into a new era. Nepal and Afghanistan have also proved their potential in the tournament.

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Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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