Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong will participate in Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 2 (WCL Div. 2) in April after hosts Hong Kong defeated PNG by 93 runs at Hong Kong Cricket Club (HKCC) on Friday.
While the victory gave Hong Kong the required points to win promotion, PNG still topped the table at the conclusion of the round-robin section of the tournament after the side from the East-Asia Pacific region won four out five of its matches this week.
Elsewhere, Italy defeated the United States of America (USA) by four wickets to send the Americans back down WCL Div. 4 where it will be joined by Denmark which lost to Oman by four wickets.
Italy defeated USA at Mission Road by four wickets in just under 50 overs to send its fellow WCL Div. 4 qualifiers back down to the division it had risen from. USA’s batting improved drastically today from its previous performances in the last few days, with the side making 222 in its allotted 50 overs.
Sushil Nadkarni and captain Steve Massiah performed well but Italy’s star all-rounder Peter Petricola once again featured with the ball, the 27-year-old dismissed debutant Ryan Corns for 30 runs on his way to making match figures of 4-38.
It was then Petricola’s turn to star with the bat, scoring 69 not out to help guide the side to victory and maintain its place in Division 3. Petricola was not the only batsman to perform today though – Hayden Patrizi provided a spirited half-century along with Michael Raso’s 38.
Disappointed USA captain, Massiah said, “Along with the entire team, I am hugely disappointed to be relegated back to Division 4. We didn’t prepare for this tournament as well as we have done in other events and our performances here were nothing like what we know we are capable of when we play cricket.
“Certain things didn’t go our way this tournament and we now need to go back to the USA and rethink our strategy and how we are going to bounce back from this and rebuild our team to climb back up the leagues.”
Having won the toss and elected to field at HKCC, PNG managed to limit the Hong Kong side to 221 runs in 49 overs, with Hussain Butt the batsman of note for the hosts. The 34-year-old made 68 runs of 102 balls to help the side to a reasonable total, he was assisted by Nizakat Khan who scored 36.
Hitolo Areni and his captain Rarua Dikana continued to be the in-form bowlers for PNG, with the duo claiming three wickets each.
However, when PNG’s batsmen took to the field the side failed to spark against some tight bowling from the local team. Nadeem Ahmed was the pick of the Hong Kong bowlers with 3-36 while PNG’s Kila Pala was the top scoring batsman with a mere 22 runs.
Hong Kong’s bowlers prevailed and despite Dikana’s 19 not out the side were all out for 128 after the departure of Loa Nou for seven runs after the 23-year-old was caught by Butt off the bowling of Hong Kong captain Najeeb Amar.
Hong Kong coach Charlie Burke was pleased with the side’s performance in winning promotion today but is focussing on winning the entire event before looking ahead to WCL Div. 2 in April.
“We talked about how we could beat PNG today and knew if we batted first it would be important to make as many runs as possible before our bowlers could get to work on the PNG side.
“The important thing for us was to remain focused and we knew by putting PNG under pressure the side would become vulnerable which they did today. We beat them in a warm-up game without our full strength squad so we knew we had the ability today to beat them, and our ability and strength showed today.
“There are plenty of quality sides in Division 2 but my focus since taking this role has been about securing promotion. We have the promotion but this league isn’t over and we want to win the entire tournament in front of our home crowd before we focus our attention to the new challenges and teams Division 2 will throw at us,”said Burke.
PNG captain Dikana was of mixed emotions with the team promoted but losing the final round-robin match.
“We’re obviously disappointed with our play and commitment in the loss to Hong Kong today. Today was Hong Kong’s final as they battled for survival in the tournament and they were the better side on the day. Congratulations to a well prepared side that fought hard and showed strong spirit.
“We have a rematch to see who will take home the title of Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 champions and I know my team have the ability to take the trophy home to PNG as the best side in the tournament. Our complete focus is on tomorrow as we take one step at a time. Tomorrow is a new ball game,”said Dikana.
In the final fixture of the day, Oman took on Denmark at Kowloon Cricket Club in a match that saw Michael Pedersen’s side once again fall short of the mark once again with some disappointing batting.
Denmark’s top order was unsuccessful once again this time with Michael Pedersen departing for just six runs as he moved up the order to join Freddie Klokker. Klokker has failed to spark this tournament and today’s strongest performer was Carsten Pedersen with a spirited half-century.
Oman’s bowling attack was too strong with Khalid Rasheed (3-17) and Rajesh Kumar (3-35) continuing to showcase their talents.
The Sultanate of Oman knocked off the required runs in just 24.5 overs losing six wickets in the process, four claimed by Jacob Larsen, but a half-century from Hemin Desai and Vaibhav Wategaonkar’s match-winning innings of 54 not out secured the side victory and retained the side its place in WCL Div. 3.
Saturday’s final will see PNG play Hong Kong at Kowloon Cricket Club, Italy will face Oman in the third/fourth play-off at HKCC while Denmark will play USA at Mission Road in the fifth/sixth play-off.
Score summaries (Day Five):
At KCC: Denmark 181 all out, 47.2 overs (C Pedersen 53, Shah 34; Rajesh 3-35, Rasheed 3-17)
Oman 182-6, 24.5 overs (Desai 51, Wategaonkar 53 not out; Larsen 4-59)
Oman won by four wickets
At HKCC: Hong Kong 221 all out, 49 overs (Butt 68, Nizakat 36; Areni 3-29, Dikana 3-43)
PNG 128 all out, 47.5 overs (Pala 22; Nadeem 3-36, Aizaz 2-21)
Hong Kong won by 93 runs
At Mission Road: USA 222-8, 50 overs (Nadkarni 47, Massiah 52, Marshall 38; Petricola 4-38)
Italy 225-6, 47 overs (Petricola 69 not out, Patrizi 50, Raso 38; Darlington 3-51, Shuja 2-25)
Italy won by four wickets
|United States of America innings||Runs||B||4’s||6’s||S/R|
|Nadkarni||c †Patrizi b Jayasena||47||106||4||0||44.34|
|Wright+||c Petricola b Alauddin||0||12||0||0||0|
|Cush||st Patrizi b Munasinghe||1||3||0||0||33.33|
|Marshall||c Raso b Petricola||38||42||4||1||90.48|
|Baker||c Bonora b Petricola||8||16||0||0||50|
|Usman Shuja||b Petricola||0||1||0||0||0|
|Asif Khan||not out||5||3||1||0||166.67|
|Extras||(b 3, lb 14, w 19, nb 0, pen )||36|
|Total||(50.0 overs , 8 wickets )||222 ( 4.44 runs per over)|
Fall of wickets: 1 – 6 (Wright, 2.4), 2 – 72 (Corns, 20.5), 3 – 125 (Nadkarni, 33.5), 4 – 127 (Cush, 34.2), 5 – 167 (Massiah, 42.1), 6 – 203 (Marshall, 48.2), 7 – 204 (Usman Shuja, 48.4), 8 – 211 (Baker, 48.6)
|Northcote||c †Wright b Darlington||13||14||2||0||92.86|
|Fernando||b Usman Shuja||17||25||2||0||68|
|Bonora*||c †Wright b Darlington||10||15||2||0||66.67|
|Crowley||c Asif Khan b Usman Shuja||2||7||0||0||28.57|
|Raso||c Cush b Baker||38||29||5||0||131.03|
|Extras||(b 0, lb 5, w 19, nb 1, pen )||25|
|Total||(47.0 overs , 6 wickets )||225 ( 4.79 runs per over)|
Fall of wickets: 1 – 19 (Northcote, 2.6), 2 – 39 (Bonora, 6.6), 3 – 48 (Fernando, 11.6), 4 – 52 (Crowley, 13.3), 5 – 154 (Patrizi, 37.2), 6 – 217 (Raso, 45.5)