Afghanistan continued to provide the main story in the ICC World Cricket League Division 4 as they thrashed Jersey by 124 runs in a re-run of last May's Division 5 final. The result gives them two wins out of two and maintains their chance of back-to-back promotions, although they still have to face pre-tournament favourites Hong Kong and Italy.
Batting first, Afghanistan made 203 for 9 in 50 overs and then bowled out Jersey for 79, a performance which delighted their coach, Kabir Khan. "Everybody is very happy as we have taken one step closer to the final and the team has played very well," he said. "Bowling wise, I am really happy and our fielding was excellent again today. We do need to work on our batting but I was not worried because I knew 200 runs would be a winning score on this wicket. Our main tests will be against Hong Kong and Tanzania which are both good sides. We will know how far we have developed when we play in those pressure matches."
Left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed took 4 for 19 as Hong Kong also maintained their unbeaten record as they defeated hosts Tanzania by 134 runs after the home team, who had themselves beaten Jersey by 34 runs on the opening day, were bowled out for 121 chasing a stiff target of 256.
Ahmed was delighted with his side's effort and admitted that he was content with their form as well as the pitches in Dar Es Salaam. "I am pretty happy with my bowling but everybody chipped in to this performance," Ahmed, who suffered a knee injury during the match, said. "I like the pitches here. In the afternoon the pitches slow down which is a good thing for us and our bowling."
Hong Kong's batsmen again showed excellent form as they rattled up 255. Man of the Match Moner Ahmed top scored with 66 while skipper Tabarak Dar chipped in with 60.
Italy's opener Andy Northcote enjoyed an eventful day in his side's 254-run thrashing of Fiji. Twenty-five year-old Northcote, who shared an opening stand of added 140 with Thushara Kurukulasuriya (73), was five runs short of century when he collapsed with heat exhaustion. He bravely carried on to reach the three figures but retired soon after. With some clean hitting down the order from skipper Joe Scuderi, who hit five boundaries in a quick-fire 44 not out, Italy reached 318 for 5 and then dismissed Fiji for 64 in less than 20 overs.
"It was my first century for Italy and I'm very happy that we have won," Northcote said. "I'd begun to feel unwell early in the innings but I was determined to keep going. I feel much better now and look forward to the remaining matches."
Monday is a rest day in the tournament. On Tuesday, Hong Kong take on Fiji, Tanzania play Afghanistan and Italy face Jersey.