Ellis four-for puts Guernsey on collision course with Jersey
Guernsey left-arm spinner Max Ellis teamed with Thomas Kirk at first slip for four dismissals on the way to bowling out Nigeria for 99, setting up a ten-wicket win at St Saviour on Tuesday. Kirk also claimed another catch at slip for medium pacer Luke Nussbaumer to take five grabs in a stellar individual fielding effort. All ten wickets for Nigeria were either bowled, lbw or caught between first slip and gully as they lasted just 34 overs after choosing to bat first on a sunny and cloud-free morning.
It could've been even worse for Nigeria with No. 3 batsman Salako Abdulazeez put down on nought by wicketkeeper Jason Martin, diving to his left across Kirk to spill a one-handed effort in the third over off Newey. Abdulazeez wound up making 20, one of three players to reach double-figures while three deliveries down the leg side that went to the boundary for five wides were part of Guernsey's 22 extras conceded, joint second-highest score of the innings behind opener Joshua Ayannaike's 26.
Ellis entered in the 18th over and struck with his fourth ball, clipping the edge of Leke Oyede for 3 and continued to rip out the middle and lower order to finish with figures of 4 for 9 in nine overs including five maidens. It followed on from Nussbaumer's incisive spell that wiped out the top order and resulted in 3 for 13 off four overs.
Matthew Stokes and GH Smit began cautiously in pursuit of the target, especially after both were dropped in the slips on 9 and 1 respectively inside the first six overs off opening bowlers Okpe Issac and Chimezie Onwuzulike. They were going at barely above three an over through the first 12 before Stokes started to come out of his shell with a pair of sweeps to the square leg boundary against spinner Sesan Adedeji in an 11-run over to take the score to 48 after 13.
Smit cracked three boundaries in the 16th and Stokes did the same in the 18th to take the score to 98. A sliced two past gully five balls into the 19th by Smit ended proceedings ahead of the scheduled lunch interval as Smit finished on 38 with six fours while Stokes walked off unbeaten on 48 with eight boundaries. Stokes has 126 runs so far in three innings at this tournament and has been dismissed just once.
Hosts Jersey defeated Tanzania by 85 runs at St Clement behind an unbeaten century and two wickets from left-arm spinning allrounder Ben Stevens. Jersey captain Peter Gough opted to bat first at the toss and struck 47 in an 87-run opening stand with Nat Watkins before making way for Stevens in the 18th over. Stevens teamed with Cornelis Bodenstein and later Corey Bisson for a pair of half-century stands on the way to making 103 not out off 88 balls.
The left-hander brought up his first fifty off 61 balls - with his fourth boundary in the 42nd over - then accelerated dramatically to club 51 off his next 27 deliveries, with only four dot balls in that stretch. On 93 at the start of the final over, Stevens struck his third six and then followed it with a two to bring up three figures as Jersey ended on 273 for 5.
Tanzania posted their highest score of the tournament so far in reply, batting out all 50 overs to end on 188 for 8, but scoring at three per over through the first 35 overs they were never a serious chance of overhauling the target especially once star allrounder Kassim Nassoro fell to Ben Kynman for a top score of 42 to make it 106 for 5.
Stand-in captain Shaheed Dhanani, deputizing for the omitted Hamisi Abdallah, also made 42 before being bowled by Charles Perchard, one of two wickets for the medium pacer in the final over of the match.
At St Martin, Oman cantered to victory over Vanuatu by nine wickets with 9.2 overs to spare. Zeeshan Maqsood followed up his half-century against Jersey on Monday with an unbeaten 130 off 138 balls to spearhead the chase of Vanuatu's respectable total of 204 for 7 after the Pacific islanders opted to bat first.
Vanuatu did themselves no favours in the field though, dropping Maqsood twice in the slips in the opening three overs off Nalin Nipiko and Callum Blake before the allrounder had reached 15. They entered the day already behind the eight ball with leading pace bowler Patrick Matautaava ruled out with a left quadriceps injury and things got worse later on when Nipiko, who took the new ball in Matautaava's place, walked off halfway through the innings with a left groin injury. Both Matautaava and Nipiko remain in doubt for Vanuatu's final two fixtures against Tanzania and Nigeria.
Earlier, Nipiko made a valiant unbeaten 93 off 108 balls, but Vanuatu struggled to maintain momentum - their best partnership was 44 runs for the fifth and eighth wickets - with Oman's attack taking wickets at regular intervals at the opposite end. Rajeshkumar Ranpura took 2 for 37 to lead the attack with Munis Ansari having a rest day following his career-best 5 for 27 against Jersey.
Tuesday's results moved Guernsey to 3-0 and they'll take on 2-1 Jersey on Wednesday at St Martin in a pivotal showdown that could determine promotion berths for Division Four a day ahead of the end of the group stage. Wins by Guernsey and Oman, who face Tanzania at St Saviour, would clinch promotion to Division Four for both sides.
A Jersey victory over Guernsey though could leave the door open for a three-way tie between the three sides at 4-1 if Guernsey goes on to defeat Oman on the last day of group play paired with a Jersey win over Nigeria. In such a scenario, the tiebreaker to decide the two teams promoted would be decided by net run rate. After three rounds of play, Guernsey holds a +0.141 advantage over Oman and a +1.099 advantage over Jersey. Vanuatu and Tanzania sit at 0-3 and have already been eliminated from contention for promotion while Nigeria at 1-2 is also a threat of being relegated.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna