Unbeaten sides maintain hot form in cold Toronto

After several days of shimmering heat, the fourth day of action dawned cold and windy here at the ICC Trophy tournament in Toronto

John Polack
After several days of shimmering heat, the fourth day of action dawned cold and windy here at the ICC Trophy tournament in Toronto. But the break in the weather failed to bring a corresponding change in the form of four of the competition's hottest teams: wins for unbeaten sides Bermuda, the Netherlands, Uganda and Argentina dominating the day's events.
The Netherlands' seven-wicket success over Fiji at Ajax emphatically confirmed its status as one of the teams to watch in this year's event. The Fijians lost a wicket just four balls into the match and never really recovered, surrendering their scalps at regular intervals to finish at a disappointing score of 127.
While a far better return than the Fijians managed in a disastrous first outing against Scotland three days ago, it never seemed vaguely enough for their bowlers to defend. Andre van Troost (3/20) produced some outstanding bowling and, as good as they were, even his figures did not do full justice to how many times he beat the bat.
Despite the early loss of Zulfiqar Ahmed (8) to an excellent yorker from Atunaisa Tawatatau (1/24), the Dutchmen duly made reasonably light work of their task, raising their win with forty-nine deliveries to spare. Although they were made to work hard for their runs, Robert van Oosterom (52) and Feiko Kloppenburg (40) went most of the way to securing the victory on their own with a composed partnership for the second wicket.
Bermuda's nine-wicket win over Papua New Guinea was similarly emphatic. The Papua New Guineans had secured a wonderful victory over the United States twenty-four hours earlier. But, as today's match began, their batsmen failed to live up to the standard they had set for themselves in that win and their tally of 131 was never enough to challenge a team as powerful as Bermuda.
After Herbert Bascombe (4/23) had led an outstanding all-round effort from Bermuda's bowlers, batsmen Clay Smith (60) and Albert Steede (43) then secured the win with an unbroken century stand.
Uganda continued its fairytale story at ICCT 2001 with a commanding six-wicket win over East and Central Africa in the all-African affair at Eglinton Flats. The Ugandans have formerly been a part of the East and Central African combine and only became a team in their own right in the lead-up to this event. But the continued good form of the leaders of Division Two's Group B ensured that the match was largely devoid of the kind of emotional and spirited character that such a meeting might ordinarily have demanded.
Junior Kwebiha (5/22) devastated the East and Central Africans during the morning, shattering the top order before a stabilising 99-run association between Virendra Kamania (55) and Feroz Munshi (26) helped swell the total to 170. An injury-plagued East and Central African attack fought bravely as Uganda replied but struggled to completely stifle the attractive strokeplay of Joel Olweny (59) and Charles Lwanga (48). Before a crowd that numbered close to 400, Kwebiha (39) then finished proceedings with a mighty six into the swamp beyond the mid wicket boundary.
Having made a late arrival in Toronto after a series of difficulties in obtaining entry visas to Canada, Nepal suffered from another slow start as it replied to Gibraltar's modest total of 133/6 at Malton. The Nepalese crashed to 52/5 on a rock-hard pitch at one point but had their cause brilliantly revived by Parash Luniya (36) and Kiran Agrawal (26) in a gritty stand of 58 runs for the sixth wicket.
This was all after Gibraltar had also battled to come to terms with the prospect of scoring its runs quickly on Malton's slow outfield, only Christian Rocca (54) standing out as it made its way to its score from a rain-reduced allotment of 43 overs.
Bowlers dominated the match, the best figures being returned by Daniel Johnson (4/23) as he went close to powering Gibraltar to an unlikely win.
The Argentine players and coaching staff ensured that, whatever happens in the remainder of this tournament, they will fondly remember events in Toronto. They still have their two hardest group games (on paper, at least) to come but, with three opening wins, have nearly doubled their entire previous total of wins in the history of ICC Trophy competition.
Like the two which have come before it, the South Americans' victory over a plucky French side was not secured until the very last over of the match. Although Marias Paterlini (57) played beautifully at the top of the order, Argentina's innings lost impetus as a series of batsmen failed to capitalise fully on good starts.
The final score of 220/5 from 40 overs came under threat from the Frenchmen throughout the afternoon session, particularly while Shabbir Hussain (86), George James (46) and Simon Hewitt (38) were in full flight. It was only when paceman Hernan Pereyra (3/34) snared three late wickets that the bowling side finally gained the upper hand.
After rain had forced its players to cool their heels for 75 minutes at the start of the day, Malaysia prevailed comfortably by a margin of six wickets over Israel with as many as nineteen overs to spare. Unfortunately, the icy conditions under which the game was played also detracted from the spectacle.
Invited to bat first, Israel at no stage found the conditions easy and lost wickets at regular intervals through the morning. Their captain, Isaac Massil (23), fought valiantly for his runs and Steven Shein (26) struck a few lusty blows but a score of 117/9 was not likely to seriously threaten a side regarded as one of the better combinations in Division Two.
Albeit that there was a serious hiccup in the middle stages of the chase as four wickets tumbled for the addition of only 24 runs, the victory was duly achieved in comfortable fashion. The contributor in chief was opener Rakesh Madhavan (41).