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May 29, 2008
Singapore have every right to feel hard done by. Although they finished level on points with the Afghans, their one game which was washed out was against Bahamas, who failed to win any of their matches, while Afghanistan's was against the unbeaten Jersey side.
Singapore started today needing an overwhelming victory against Japan to leapfrog into second place. Their hopes were as good as extinguished before the halfway stage as they struggled to 201 in 35.4 overs. In gathering gloom Japan limped to 67 for 5 before rain brought an early finish with Singapore winning by 52 runs (D/L).
In the three Group A matches carried over from yesterday, the two teams already qualified for the semi-finals, Nepal and USA took one point each after their game was washed out. Nepal made 182 but the heavens opened before USA could start their chase.
The Nepal captain Binod Das said his team was confident ahead of its semi-final against Afghanistan. "We are upbeat as we have been playing good cricket," he said. "As a team we are very confident of doing well in the semi-final. One thing we know about Afghanistan is they are inconsistent. They can be world beaters one day and inconsistent other days, so we hope we can have a good day against them.
"We are not very aware of these things right now as our focus is on the cricket but we heard yesterday that the country was declared a republic so we are proud of that. The people of Nepal wanted that to happen and if we win this tournament and come back home with the trophy we are going to dedicate the win to the people."
The Afghanistan captain Nowroz Mangal hoped his team would learn from their mistakes and put up an improved performance on Friday. "We are not short of any confidence," he said. "The biggest motivation for us ahead of tomorrow's match is if we win it, we will take a big step forward in our quest to play in the World Cup. Every team needs time to adjust to new conditions and after playing four matches here, we know what we need to do tomorrow to swing the match in our favour. If experience is on Nepal's side, then talent and potential is on our side and tomorrow we just need to pull together a good team effort."
In the other semi-final, USA will meet hosts Jersey. "It's something to look forward to as if we want to move forward from this tournament into the other league and get to the World Cup then we have look to tomorrow's game with great anticipation," Steve Massiah, the USA's captain, said. "It will be a tough test as Jersey were unbeaten in the preliminary rounds. As both the teams are in good form, I am sure we will have a good game."
Massiah said he was pleased with the performance of his team so far but warned his side of complacency. "It would be unfair to the guys not to be pleased after getting a perfect four from four," he said. "We don't fear any opposition and we just try to concentrate on our strengths and realise if we play to our full potential then we will be a hard team to beat. But we have to guard against complacency."
The Jersey captain Matt Hague said: "It should be a really good game as the USA has been in good form and so have we. There is a lot to play for and to get into the final and go to Tanzania would be something really special so we'll all look forward to it and it should be great."
Hague acknowledged home advantage would be useful, but played down the fact that it would be a big bonus. "I suppose it helps a little bit but all the teams have played over here for a few games now so they should know the conditions," he said. "FB Fields should be a good batting wicket, so as long as the rain stays away it should be good."
The two finalists will automatically qualify for the World Cricket League Division Four which takes place in Dar Es Salaam in October. The top two there will be promoted to Division Three, with that event held in Argentina in January 2009, and from there the top two will be invited to take part in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in April.
In the other Group A matches, Germany beat Norway by six wickets with more than 12 overs to spare after bowling them out for 147, while Vanautu had Mozambique at 88 for 4 when the match was abandoned because of rain.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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