Brazil move to Americas Division 2
Brazil overpowered hosts Chile by 85 runs to win the ICC Americas Division 3 Championship in Santiago, Chile on Sunday and earn promotion to next year's Americas Division 2 tournament.
The victory was set up by a second-wicket partnership of 117 between Man of the Match Greigor Caisley and captain Matt Featherstone, with assistance from nine dropped catches from Chilean fielders.
Aftter electing to bat in a match reduced to 40 overs a side due to a delayed start, Brazil posted an impressive 213 for 6, with Featherstone firing an aggressive 95 in 86 balls, including four fours and six sixes. Meanwhile, Caisley made a polished 81 off 96 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes.
The pair were separated with the score at 164 in the 35th over, having set a fine platform for a challenging target for Chile to chase. John Fecci took 3 for 37. The pick of the Chilean bowlers, though was probably left-arm seamer, Tristan Bradbrook who took 1 for 18 from his eight overs.
Chile got off to the worst possible start, losing opener Ian Walker, second ball. Things only got worse when batting star Simon Shalders was run out in the 10th over sending Chile to a disastrous 24 for 3. Brazil tightened things even further in the field and by the 22nd over the match was effectively decided as Chile were on their knees at 55 for 7.
There was a late scurry from Jim Scarbrough who made 39 in 41 balls with four fours and a six, sharing an eighth-wicket partnership of 54 with Kamran Zeb. It was all too late as Chile were eventually all out for 128 in the 35th over.
The pick for the Brazilian bowlers was medium-pacer Rudyard Hartmann, who nabbed 4 for 25 in 5.4 overs with a fine display of swing bowling, while Ravi Chanchlani was miserly and effective, taking 2 for 18 in eight overs.
Featherstone was delighted at the win and the Division 3 title. "This is a great result for us, something we have been working very hard towards in Brazil for a long time now.
"The Chileans were a bit unlucky in the field, but Greigor batted beautifully, Rudy did the job to grab two early wickets, and obviously Simon's run-out was a big wicket. Getting up to Division 2 is a massive step for Brazilian cricket, and hopefully it will have a positive impact on the growth of cricket back in Brazil."
Shalders, the Chilean captain, was naturally disappointed, but was not in any doubt as to what let his team down on the day. "You can't expect to win important cricket matches when you drop nine catches.
"We let ourselves down today, we're a better team than the performance we put up, but all credit to Brazil who were simply the better team on the pitch on the day and deserved to win."
With a full round of matches still to be played, Brazil can enjoy the final day of the event as champions thanks to their head-to-head wins over Belize and Chile. The best Chile or Belize, who meet on Monday, can hope to do is finish on equal points with Brazil (assuming Brazil lose to Peru) but a head-to-head win is enough to separate any teams on equal points.
Medium-pacer Kenroy Roca was the star of Belize's win over Peru, taking 7 for 38 in 9.5 overs, to lead his team to a resounding 86 run victory over the gritty Peruvians.
Earlier in the day, Peru had bowled and fielding tigerishly to dismiss Belize for 159 in 40.5 overs, despite conceding 41 extras. Veteran offspinner Tony Sanford took 4 for 38, with good support coming from Dinesh Ekanayake (2 for 33) and Nadeem Ahmed Ansari (2 for 41).
It was an eventful day for Roca. When batting in the Belize innings, he was forced to retire hurt after being hit on the head by a return from the outfield. He later returned to hit his team's top score, 27 from 47 balls, with two fours and a six. When he bowled, he took the final seven Peru wickets to send them crashing to 73 all out in the 31st over.
On Monday, Brazil and Peru meet with their final placings of first and fourth respectively confirmed, so the main interest will be on Chile versus Belize in the battle for second place.
Beyond this tournament, Brazil will now be looking forward to playing against Suriname, Bahamas, Panama and Turks & Caicos in Americas Division 2 in early 2010.
Brazil 213 for 6 (40 overs) (Matt Featherstone 95, Greigor Caisley 81; John Fecci 3-37)
Chile 128 (34.4 overs) (Jim Scarbrough 39; Rudyard Hartmann 4-25, Ravindra Chanchlani 2-18). Brazil won by 85 runs.
Belize 159 (40.5 overs) (Kenroy Roca 27, Howard Gillett 20; Tony Sanford 4-38, Dinesh Ekanayake 2-33, Nadeem Ahmed Ansari 2-41)
Peru 73 (30.5 overs) (Kenroy Roca 7-38) Belize won by 86 runs
Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo