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May 7, 2011
Nigeria have ensured they finish top of the points table - as a result qualifying for World Cricket League Division 6 - by beating Botswana by eight wickets in a rain-affected game in Gaborone.
Going into the match tied on points with Botswana, Nigeria chose to field. The decision paid off, as none of the host's batsmen were able to build on the starts they got, folding for 123 in 37.2 overs. Legspinner Sean Philips was the pick of the bowlers, stifling the batsmen to finish with 3 for 10 in 6.2 overs. Nigeria's openers, Ademola Onikoyi and Segun Olayinka, got the chase off to rapid start, putting on 71 in 10.2 overs. But then play was interrupted by rain, and subsequently the target reduced to 120 off 47 overs. After the resumption, Nigeria knocked off the 49 more required for a win without much drama, with Olayinka batting through.
Endurance Ofem, the Nigeria captain, said the ease of the victory was unexpected. "I expected more from them [Botswana] today, considering they chased down 272 [against Norway on Thursday]. But I told my guys that if we do well in the morning then the afternoon would be ours for the taking," he said. "Our bowlers worked hard today and it really paid off for us."
Nigeria will take on Kuwait in the final on Sunday, while Botswana will play Germany for third place.
Norway needed a massive win against Germany to avoid relegation to WCL Division 8, but could not pull it off, succumbing by 18 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-curtailed match.
Choosing to bowl, Norway's bowlers did well to restrict Germany to 184. While medium pacer Babar Shahzad knocked over a couple early, opening bowler Waseem Gill bowled an impressive second spell, carving up the middle and lower order with three scalps. S Satyanarayana was the only batsman to make a sizeable contribution, adding respectability to the total with 52 off 47 balls. In the mid-innings break the rain came down and the revised target for Norway was 141 in 29 overs. The right-left combination Rajeev Vohra and Ehsan Latif were hard to manoeuvre early on in the chase, picking up two apiece to leave Norway 40 for 4 in the ninth over. Norway didn't recover and fell 18 runs short, all out for 122 in 25.4 overs. Latif claimed two more wickets, finishing with 4 for 26 in 5.4 overs.
German captain Asif Khan said his team were happy to keep their place in Division 7. "On the whole, we're delighted that we're a part of Division 7," he said. "Our batting didn't click so well today, but Satya [Satyanarayana] proved his worth under pressure. I think to have got them out for under 140 on this wicket is a real achievement."
Germany will play Botswana for third place on Sunday, while Norway will take on Japan in the fifth-place play-off.
The match between Japan and Kuwait was abandoned without a ball being bowled. The sides split points, taking one apiece.
Japan have finished at the bottom of the table, meaning they have been relegated to WCL Division 8, irrespective of the result of the fifth-place play-off in which they play Norway on Sunday. Kuwait, who are No. 2 on the points table, have made WCL Division 6, and will take on Nigeria for the Division 7 title.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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