Sensational Patrick Matautaava blows Germany away
Slams 139 off 76 balls as Vanuatu run down 228 target in 28.2 overs to get into semis of World Cricket League Division Five on net run rate
Patrick Matautaava produced one of the all-time great knocks in the history of the World Cricket League, striking an unbeaten 139 off 76 balls as Vanuatu defeated Germany by four wickets. Chasing a target of 228, Vanuatu needed to achieve victory in 31.3 overs or less to overtake Germany on the net run rate tiebreaker with the Germans holding a +1.710 advantage at the start of the day. They only needed 28.2 overs in the end thanks to Matautaava's sensational century.
While Vanuatu's scoring rate was strong at the start of the chase, wickets also tumbled quickly and when captain Andrew Mansale fell for a second-ball duck to end the 10th over, it left Vanuatu 58 for 4. Matautaava had also retired hurt on 5 in the sixth over after facing just eight deliveries but after getting treatment resumed his innings in the ninth and commenced a blistering counterattack.
Four of the first five deliveries Matautaava faced upon returning to the crease were hit to the boundary and he never looked back. The 25-year-old brought up his half-century off 37 balls in the 18th over, then needed just another 20 deliveries to reach triple figures as he dominated a 135-run fifth wicket stand with Ronald Tari that spanned just 14.4 overs. When Tari fell, there were still 35 runs needed to win with five wickets in hand and 6.5 overs in which to do it to make the semi-finals. It only took another 3.4 overs as Matautaava scored 31 of the remaining runs required. His 15th boundary of the day clinched victory to go along with eight sixes.
Matautaava's heroics were set up by offspinner Jelany Chilia's 4 for 39 after Mansale won the toss and as expected sent Germany in. Matautaava and Wesley Viraliliu pinned down the Germans early with the score 55 for 4 after 17 overs but captain Rishi Pillai fought back with 71 off 82 balls. Chilia burrowed through the middle order though and eventually nabbed Pillai as part of his haul to prevent the Germans from making a late surge and they were eventually bowled out in the 50th over.
Jersey clinched the top spot in their half of the draw with a 108-run win over Ghana. Jersey made 226 for 8 after being sent in as everyone in the top five crossed 30 but no one passed Nat Watkins' 44 off 88 balls opening the innings. Obed Agbomadzie's remarkably consistent tournament with the ball continued as he bagged another three wickets to keep Jersey in check.
With Vanuatu's speedy victory over Germany in progress, a Ghana win would have put them in the semis. However, they wilted under pressure from Jersey's left-arm spin attack as Ben Stevens claimed 3 for 17 and Watkins 2 for 31. Ghana was eventually bowled out for 118 in 36.4 overs.
In a virtual knockout match for the last semi-final spot up for grabs, Qatar pulled off a tense three-wicket win over Guernsey by chasing down a target of 232 with 13 balls to spare. Oliver Newey struck his third half-century in a row from No. 3 for Guernsey, making 80 off 101 balls, but fell in a key sequence with 11 overs to go as Tamoor Sajjad (2 for 33) and Mohammed Nadeem (3 for 49) ensured they were held in check in the death overs.
Qatar's chase got off to an emphatic start with a 112-run opening partnership between Inam-ul-Haq (63 off 83 balls) and Qalandar Khan (56 off 64 balls). Medium pacer David Hooper removed both to open the door for a pair of quick middle-order strikes by left-arm spinner Matthew Ellis to test Qatar's nerves. Muhammad Tanveer struck a crucial 47 off 62 balls before he fell to Newey with 22 needed off the last 35 balls. Newey struck again in his next over to leave the tail exposed but No. 9 Awais Malik bashed 10 off four balls while wicketkeeper Mohammed Rizlan kept calm to finish unbeaten on 22 to eliminate Guernsey.
Italy finished their unbeaten run through Group A with a 122-run win over Cayman Islands. Damian Crowley's 105 off 88 balls propelled Italy to a commanding total of 326 for 6. The ex-captain finished the group stage as the tournament's leading scorer with 243 runs.
Sacha de Alwis (52 off 44 balls) and captain Ramon Sealy (89 off 92 balls) each made solid contributions in Cayman Islands' reply but lacked support as no one else made more than Conroy Wright's 16 at No. 7. Carl Sandri bagged the biggest haul of the tournament, taking 6 for 46 to spin out Cayman Islands for 204 in 42.2 overs.
The tournament semi-finals begin on Thursday with Italy taking on Vanuatu for one promotion berth while Jersey will play Qatar to determine the other team that will move up to Division Four. It will be the maiden encounter between the sides for each semi-final pairing.