The ICC World Cricket League Division 8 tournament began in Kuwait on Saturday and here is a round-up of the action from the first set of matches.
Vanuatu inflicted an embarrassing 282-run defeat on Bhutan who crumbled for 55 in the face of Vanuatu's huge 337 for 9. Captain Andrew Mansale led the with 87 off 81 balls, adding 154 alongside Jonathon Dunn (75), but it was the closing stages of the innings that provided the real fireworks. Patrick Matautaava swung his way to 79 from 43 deliveries including seven fours and four sixes and he wasn't finished there as he then claimed 4 for 11 in Bhutan's reply. None of the batsmen could muster double figures in an innings that lasted 23.1 overs.
"It feels great to have been able to help the team to our first win of the tournament and to get my Man of the Match award from Tony Hill was pretty cool," said Matautaava. "But this is only the first game of a long tournament."
In another clash that was the definition of one-sided, hosts Kuwait hammered Suriname by nine wickets and the entire contest lasted 36 overs. Kuwait were only chasing a paltry 77 and knocked off their target in 7.1 overs. The trouncing was set up by their opening bowlers, Mohammad Murad and Saad Khalid, who shared eight wickets. At 27 for 7 Suriname were also threatening not to have anyone reach double figures, but Terbhawan Ranjit (19) and Anthony Seeraj (12 not out) managed to edge the total to 76 which was boosted by 19 wides.
"It was a dream start for us to begin the tournament with a victory but we can't be complacent," said captain Hisham Mirza. "Vanuatu are in our group and after their big win today, we need to make sure we're prepared to face them tomorrow in Hubara. I couldn't have hoped for a better start for us today and it was good to finish so early so we had time to relax ahead of tomorrow's game where we hope we can also do well."
Germany produced an impressive comeback to beat Zambia by 11 runs after only posting 128. In reply, Zambia were well placed on 58 for 2 but Shakeel Hassan turned the match on its with an incisive spell where he took out the middle order and revived Germany's hopes. Ehsan Latif then returned for a second burst, and carried on where Hassan left off with three scalps, to wrap up the innings as Zambia's lower order couldn't absorb the pressure despite the required rate never being an issue. Germany had struggled to form any sort of platform with the bat as they fell to 20 for 3, but Rishi Pillai made a vital 39 before Hassan contributed 20. Hassan's key role was still to come.
Bahamas put in an efficient display to ease past Gibraltar by seven wickets. Their captain Gregory Taylor led the chase with 74 and received solid support from the rest of the top order. Gibraltar had also put in a solid attempt with the bat but couldn't take advantage of having wickets in hand at the death. Kieron Ferrary top-scored with 52 however, the strike-rates of the middle order were low.