Kuwait extend dominance in second round
Kuwait wrapped up their second win of the tournament with a resounding 161-run hammering of Vanuatu at the Hubaru Ground in Kuwait City. Twin hundreds from Irfan Bhatti and captain Hisham Mirza set up Kuwait's massive total of 401 all out. They put 202 for the first wicket and both fell for 111, hitting a combined 23 fours and 11 sixes.
It took a run out to eventually part them, but Vanuatu were not helped by the poor quality of their own fielding as eight chances went down in the course of the innings. They still managed to pick up regular wickets, but could do nothing about the run-rate as a further nine sixes were struck before Jonathon Dunn brought the innings to a swift end with three tail-end wickets in 11 balls.
Vanuatu passed their highest ever limited-overs score with 337 in their first game of the tournament against Bhutan, but in this match they lost opener Lenica Natapei for a duck in the third over and never launched a realistic challenge on their target. Both Damian Smith and captain Andrew Mansale made it into the 40s, however, and Dunn's half-century capped a good allround day for him and lent some honour to the defeat.
"Cricket's a funny game and Kuwait set us a huge target today and credit has to go to its two centurions," said Mansale. "We didn't seem to be able to match them in the runs department and our bowling and fielding wasn't up to scratch today. We've all to play for on Tuesday against Suriname as victory could secure us a top two finish in the group which would help when it comes to the qualifying matches."
Bhutan bounced back from their embarrassing 282-run thrashing at the hands of Vanuatu yesterday with a hard-fought 11-run win over Suriname in a low-scoring match at the Unity Ground in Kuwait City. After captain Tshering Dorji won the toss and opted to bat, Bhutan struggled to build any momentum and their eventual total of 182 for 8 was built around Manoj Adhikari's patient 61.
Opening bowlers Lobzang Yonten and Tandin Wangchuk then made a mess of Suriname's top order with three wickets in the space of five balls. Brahma Prasad and captain Shazam Ramjohn launched a recovery with a 79-run partnership before Ramjohn was dismissed by Dampo Dorji to spark another collapse at the hands of spinner Phuntsho Wangdi. Prasad went to his fifty but was run out shortly afterwards and Suriname were dismissed for 171 in the 45th over.
"Things went well for us today particularly in the fielding and catching department," said Dorji after the match. "We held catches, kept things tight so when it came down to them trying to make the runs and meet the target they couldn't because we fielded so much better than yesterday."
"Our top order didn't do so well today when it came to batting but Manoj performed very well and the main thing ahead of Tuesday is that we need to keep things simple. We need to be consistent with our fielding and our batting. I think if we can set a good target here and our bowlers pitch it up a bit and get the ball to swing on the flat pitches, we could be in with a chance."
A united team performance from Zambia set up their 76-run victory over Bahamas at the Sulabiya Ground. Zambia lost both openers for single figures after opting to bat first, but Nos. 3 to 8 all got starts and three men passed 30 to keep the innings ticking over. The innings came to an end in the final over when Gladson Kandela, who had struck two sixes in an aggressive 33, was caught and bowled by Mario Ford.
Kandela continued his fight in the field, picking up three top-order wickets with his seamers to ensure that Bahama's innings got off to a stuttering start. The spinners then come to the fore, Godfrey Kandela and Mohmed Mitha picking up three wickets apiece as Bahamas were bowled out for 132 in the 40th over.
"We played well yesterday against Germany but we didn't execute our batting to the fullest," said Zambia's coach Peter Kirsten. "But after some hard work by the coaching team last night and a bit of a bad start with the batting this morning the senior players really came to the party today with the bat.
"We've got some good youngsters coming through to accompany the seniors and we always know that if we can put over 200 on the board and bat out the 50 overs we're in with a good chance of victory and that's what happened today."
Kirsten was also pleased with the performance of Man of the Match Gladson Kandela. "Gladson was the Under-19 captain recently and he's a good performer with both the bat and ball, as today showed. He's definitely the spearhead opener of our bowling attack now and after today's tactics paid off I think our group is wide open."
In the second Group B match of the day at the Doha Entertainment City ground Germany beat Gibraltar by an impressive 130 runs despite a spirited 99 by Christian Rocca. Both Milan Fernando and Asif Khan cracked hundreds as the Germans reached a daunting 363 for 5, and Gibraltar captain Rocca then played a lone hand in the chase. He was bowled one run short of the milestone by offspinner Shakeel Hassan, who finished with four wickets as Gibraltar were kept to 233 for 8.
Monday is a rest day for all of the teams in the tournament, with play resuming on Tuesday.