Favourites make strong start
Tournament favourites Afghanistan, Nepal and USA recorded comfortable victories on the opening day of the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 in Jersey.
Afghanistan survived a middle-order collapse to beat Japan by 93 runs, Nepal defeated Germany by seven wickets and USA beat Mozambique by nine wickets. Jersey also enjoyed success on a bright and sunny day when they beat Singapore by 93 runs while Norway beat Vanuatu by 183 runs and Botswana saw off the Bahamas by 70 runs.
At the Victoria College, Afghanistan suffered a sensational middle-order collapse against Japan when they were bowled out for 179 in 35.4 overs after being 137 for 3. Takuro Hagihara was the pick of Japan bowlers with 5 for 25 while for Afghanistan opener Karim Khan Sedeq top scored with 47. In turn, Japan were bowled out for 80 in 40.2 overs with Hasti Gul Abed bagging 3 for 22.
Taj Malik, Afghanistan's coach, was pleased with his side's performance and said he never thought his team was in trouble despite posting a small total. "We discussed with the players during the innings break that the pitch was assisting the fast bowlers and if Japan could get us for 180 runs then we should be able to bowl them out for less than 100 runs."
Nepal had few problems against Germany. Set a modest target of 70 runs at the Les Quennevais 1, Nepal raced to victory in 20.2 overs with opener Mahesh Chhetri stroking an unbeaten 23. Earlier, 25-year-old spinner Basant Regmi took 3 for 4 and Mahaboob Alam 3 for 24 as Germany were bowled out in 39.4 overs. "I am happy for my team because it was important for us to get a good start in this tournament which we did," Binod Kumar Das, Nepal's captain, said. "We did well with the ball initially and though I think we could have batted better, a win is a win and I am happy it came so comfortably."
At the Farmers Field, USA crushed Mozambique. The feature of the match was a superb knock of 70 not out by Sushil Nadkarni as USA passed the 149-run target in 21.4 overs. Steve Messiah, USA's captain, was pleased with his team's performance in their first match in almost two years. "It's the start we were looking for. We have been out of international cricket for a couple of years and we are now looking forward to moving from strength to strength. Every game will be a big game for us if we are going to qualify for the World ... and this is where it all begins for us."
Opener Jersey's Peter Gough picked up the Man-of-the-Match award for his 69, which included seven boundaries, in his team's win over Singapore.
Norway captain Shahid Ahmed was the only centurion of the day with a brilliant 133 not out to guide his team to 360 for 3 in 50 overs against Vanuatu. Ahmed then completed a fine all-round performance when he claimed 3 for 11 as Vanuatu, who needs wins against two Associate members in Jersey if their application for Associate membership is to be successful, were dismissed for 177.