Malaysia, Guernsey go top with wins
Guernsey and Malaysia both claimed victories on the second day of the World Cricket League Division Six tournament in Kuala Lumpur. Heavy downpours at the Selangor Turf Club meant Jersey's match against Kuwait was abandoned in the 18th over, however, just as Kuwait had the islanders on the back foot at 55 for 4.
After losing GH Smit, trapped in front of his stumps by Waisake Tukana, Savident continued his good work in the company of Jeremy Frith. On a blustery, windswept day the pair added a further 45 for the second wicket before Savident was adjudged lbw off the bowling of Jikoi Kida for 82.
After the cloud cover thickened there was a brief stop for rain but that didn't stop the sides completing the first innings. Frith had another good turn with the bat, reaching 82 with nine fours and a six before having his stumps rearranged by Kitiano Tavo, after which captain Stuart Le Provost's rapid fifty helped boost Guernsey's total to 279 for 6.
Fji's reply didn't start smoothly, and two top-order batsmen had been lost inside the first 10 overs. The innings never recovered, with Frith and Gary Rich picking up two wickets apiece while wicketkeeper Tom Kimber had a good day with the gloves, catching Iniasi Cakacaka, Josefa Dabea Balecicia and Colin Rika and rounding off his day with the stumping of Maciu Gauna. Frith earned his second Man of the Match award of the tournament for his efforts with bat and ball.
"Fiji did challenge us early on, their new ball bowlers were fairly tight but when we got past 200 their heads began to drop," said a delighted Le Provost after the match. "I don't think we take any opposition lightly and they certainly challenged us. There were great runs from Jeremy Frith again and it was also good to see Lee Savident adding to the total and obviously it's nice to be able to contribute myself."
Guernsey's next match is against Kuwait on Tuesday, an opposition the team has not faced before. "We've seen Kuwait's scores, but not seen much of them at all as a side, so we will go look at them tomorrow when Jersey play them in their re-match at Kinrara to get a feel for the side," said Le Prevost.
At Kinrara, hosts Malaysia took on Nigeria, with Nigerian new-ball bowlers Saheed Akolade and Oluseye Olympio keeping the batsmen quiet at the start. Nevertheless, the Malaysian openers put on 73 before Shafiq Sharif departed for 43, trapped lbw by Oluwaseun Odeku's medium pace.
Not long afterwards, a heavy downpour stopped play for close to four hours but the good drainage at Kinrara Oval allowed the teams back on to play a game reduced to 29 overs. Nigeria were set Duckworth/Lewis-adjusted target of 181, but their batting faltered from the start and eventual man of the match Eszrafiq Aziz helped himself to figures of 4 for 27.
"I was really pleased with how we bowled this morning," said Nigerian captain Endurance Ofem. "We kept things tight and things looked to be going really well until the rain set in. Obviously that's disappointing and we didn't do well at chasing down the target set with the reduced overs but we have to take the positives and move on for Tuesday's game."
"I think credit has to go Nigeria's bowling in the first innings, the first 10 overs of the game they had us on the back-foot with some good tight bowling and they were superb in the field too," said Malaysian coach Thushara Kodikara. "It's disappointing that we didn't get a full 50-over game but I was pleased with how my young side performed to restrict Nigeria in the 29 overs. Eszrafiq did particularly well bowling in all the right places to take four wickets and deservedly the Man of the Match award."
At Selangor Turf Club, heavy overnight rainfall resulted in a late start before Jersey lost quick wickets against a rejuvenated Kuwait. The match lasted only 18 overs, by which time Jersey had lost four wickets, before the rain returned. With reserve days in place, the game will be replayed on Monday at Kinrara Oval.
Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town