Clinical Kuwait stay at top of table
Kuwait consolidated their position at the top of the World Cricket League Division 7 points table, beating Nigeria convincingly by nine wickets with all of 25 overs to spare at the Lobatse Cricket Ground.
Being asked to bat, Nigeria's line-up crumbled against the medium pace of Saad Khalid. The slide was initiated by left-armer Mohammad Murad, who sent back opener Ramit Gill for a duck. From there on, Khalid, with the rest of the bowlers offering solid support, ran through Nigeria, finishing with figures of 5 for 24 in 6.4 overs. The only batsman to show any resistance was Sean Philips, who contributed almost half the total with 75, as Nigeria folded for 153. Kuwait were clinical in the chase, Irfan Bhatti and Saud Qamar putting together an unbroken 128-run stand after an early wicket, to take their side home comfortably.
Khalid, who was named Man of the Match said his side will look to continue their winning run. "It is obviously great to make it three wins out of three in the tournament, but we can't rest on today's win," he said. "We face Germany tomorrow [Thursday] and we know they'll want a good match, especially since they lost to us in the final of Division 8 [Kuwait and Germany finished on top in Division 8, to qualify for the Division 7 tournament]."
Hosts Botswana got past Germany by two wickets in a close game at the Botswana Cricket Association Oval 1 in Gaborone.
Botswana began ideally in the field, after captain Akrum Chand chose to bowl, with Waseem Tajbhay running out Milan Fernando for a duck and Omar Ali castling Andre Leslie for 1, to leave Germany 2 for 2 in the third over. A patient 148-run stand between Asif Khan and Farooq Ahmed got the innings back on track though. The pair was dismissed in quick succession, but Rishi Pillai added another 47, to make sure Germany posted a competitive total. Ali was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with 3 for 43. Botswana, like Germany, were in trouble early on in their innings, being 8 for 2 and then 28 for 3, before a steadying 87-run stand between Denzil Sequeira and Karabo Modise. Modise, was run out on 65, but the lower-middle order played around Ali - who struck 45 off 40 balls - to help the hosts sneak home with 11 deliveries to spare.
Man-of-the-Match Ali said the win was the result of positive cricket. "When I saw Karabo going out there and playing with a positive attitude, I decided that when I went out there [to bat] I would go with the same attitude and it paid off."
Norway registered their first win of the tournament, defeating Japan by 53 runs at the Botswana Cricket Association Oval 2, on the back of an excellent all-round performance by Shahbaz Butt.
Japan inserted Norway in to bat, and were able to pick up wickets at regular intervals to begin with, leaving Norway 81 for 5 in the 22nd over. That's when they came up against Butt, who put on 125 runs for the sixth wicket with Iftikhar Suhael. Patrick Giles-Jones, who finished with 4 for 48, took a return catch to get rid of Suhael for 53, but Butt carried on, steering Norway towards sizeable total before falling two short of his century. He continued to trouble Japan during the chase, running through their middle order with his maiden hat-trick. While a few of the Japan batsman got starts, only Ko Irie managed to build an innings of substance, remaining 56 not out as Japan folded for 191 in the 49th over.
"I just knew I had to stay in there and make the runs for as long as possible and stay in the game for as long as possible which I did," Man-of-the-Match Shahbaz said. "I was also really happy with the way I bowled. That's not to say Japan didn't challenge us today, they put up a good fight with both bat and ball but ultimately we came out on top."