Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Div. 3
Two half centuries have helped Nepal defeat Uganda by five wickets to secure the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division 3 title at the National Sports Stadium in Bermuda on Sunday.

Steven Taylor hit 97 in USA win against Bermuda. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

Chasing down a target of 152, half centuries from youngster Pradeep Airee (60) and Sharad Vesawkar (50 not out) laid the foundation. A hard hitting 19 not out from Prithu Baskota, who captained Nepal’s Under 19 side at last year’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, saw Nepal exceed its target in the 40th over. Henry Senyondo took two wickets for Uganda, including that of the top scorer, Airee.

Earlier, Uganda lost key run maker Arthur Kyobe in the fifth over with the scoreboard on five. The middle order steadied the ship and lifted the run rate, with Laurence Sematimba (27), Deusdedit Muhumuza (28) and captain Davis Arinaitwe (23) all contributing. As the end of the innings drew closer, tail enders Richard Okia and Charles Waiswa attacked the ball, striking three sixes and one four between them at more than one run a ball to help the side reach 151 for eight from its 50 overs. Left-arm spinner Basant Regmi, who took five wickets in last year’s final of WCL Division 4 against USA, and Rahul Vishwakarma, took two wickets apiece, while Nepal’s Airee was adjudged man of the match.

Nepal and Uganda now advance to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, which will be held in New Zealand in January 2014. The two sides will compete with eight other leading Associate and Affiliate sides for the final two positions in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

Surrounded by a small group of jubilant fans, elated Nepal captain Paras Khadka said the win felt unbelievable. “We worked really hard for it. And having lost the first couple of games no one gave us an outright chance but we still believed in ourselves and our ability. Everything worked in favour of us and, as they say, fortune favours the brave. I feel glad. We have reached where we always wanted to, and now it is a matter of preparing ourselves even better. If we prepare really well, things are looking in good shape for us.”

With the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier only eight months away, the skipper says his side will remain focused. “Before the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, we have the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in November in Dubai and that’s an equally important tournament.
“I think preparation-wise, we have to have a strategic plan from now on because it is a big step – one more step and you are in the ICC Cricket World Cup. So we have to think in that perspective and hopefully, if we can get things right back home, and play against good teams and quality opponents, that’s how you develop as a player and prepare.”

Disappointed Uganda captain Davis Arinaitwe was still proud of his side’s achievements. “Qualifying for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier was our primary objective when we got here, we first put our sights on trying to qualify for that tournament, so I felt that for us, that is an achievement that we can take back home.

“Ideally, I would have liked to finish the tournament on a high and pick up the final trophy of the whole tournament, and leave this beautiful island as WCL winners. But on this day I thought we were not lucky in the field. I thought the Nepal batsmen batted pretty well.”

Arinaitwe says his team will now switch its focus to the two upcoming global qualification events: “I think we’ll get back home, take a short break, then resume the training as usual as we try to prepare for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in November and then the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier as well.”

A 156-run partnership between Steven Taylor and Orlando Baker helped USA overcome a shaky start to post a healthy 271 against Bermuda at St. David’s to win the third-place play off. After Curt Stovell took two early wickets to have USA precariously placed at 15 for two, Taylor, later named man of the match, struck 97 from 95 balls, and Baker crafted 72. Japen Patel (34) and Elmore Hutchinson (33 not out) lifted USA to reach 271 for seven. Stovell was the pick of the Bermuda bowlers, taking four for 38 from nine overs.

After losing a wicket on the first delivery, Bermuda’s run chase still managed to start quickly. Veterans David Hemp and Janeiro Tucker top scored with 45 and 34, respectively, and the run rate was accelerated when Malachi Jones, the 23-year old all-rounder, added 29 from 27 deliveries. Jacobi Robinson contributed a last minute flurry (31 from 14) to keep the eager crowd’s hopes alive, but a four wicket haul by Muhammad Ghous helped break through the resistance and dismissed the home side in the 49th over.

In the final match of the day, a four-wicket haul by Munis Ansari and a blistering all-round performance by Syed Amir Ali set up a five-wicket victory for Oman over Italy in the fifth-place play-off match at Somerset CC.

Ansari took two early wickets before Italy settled into the crease. A 63-run third-wicket partnership between Damian Crowley and Peter Petricola brought the European side to 93 for three in 19 overs, before Ansari struck the tail end, taking the last two wickets to dismiss Italy for 207 in 49 overs.

In reply, Oman’s Zeehsan Siddiqui scored 64 from 68 balls, including 11 fours, to take Oman to 141 for four. Jatinder Singh added 37 and Syed Amir Ali was undefeated on 42 when Oman reached its target in the 45th over. Damian Crowley was the pick of the Italy bowlers, taking two for 39. Ali was named man of the match for his combined efforts, having also taken two wickets.

Uganda captain Davis Arinaitwe was named player of the tournament. The 26-year old took 10 wickets during the tournament, and twice received the award for man of the match.

The final rankings of the WCL Division 3 are as follows:
1st – Nepal
2nd – Uganda
3rd – USA
4th – Bermuda
5th – Oman
6th – Italy

Player of the tournament – Davis Arinaitwe (Uganda)

Scores in brief:
At National Sports Stadium
Uganda 151 for eight, 50 overs (Muhumuza 28, Sematimba 27, Arinaitwe 23; B Regmi 2-24)
Nepal 153 for five, 39.2 overs (Airee 60, Vesawkar 50; Senyondo 2-29)
Nepal won by 5 wickets (with 64 balls remaining)
Player of the Match: Pradeep Airee (Nepal)

At St. David’s
USA 271 for seven, 50 overs (Taylor 97, Baker 72, Patel 34, Hutchinson 33; Stovell 4-38)
Bermuda 241 all out, 48.4 overs (Hemp 45, Tucker 34, Robinson 31, Anderson 30, Jones 29; Ghous 4-43)
USA won by 30 runs
Player of the Match: Steven Taylor (USA)

At Somerset CC
Italy 207 all out, 48.4 overs (Bonora 42, Crowley 37, Raso 31, Petricola 30; Ansari 4-72)
Oman 208 for five, 44.5 overs (Siddiqui 64, Amir Ali 42*, Jatinder Singh 37; Crowley 2-39)
Oman won by five wickets (with 31 balls remaining)
Player of the Match: Syed Amir Ali (Oman)