Associate Cricket: WCL 7 Review
Russell Degnan

Have been moving house recently so there is much to catch up on. Those paying attention will already have gleaned the results of WCL7 from German fan Wes at Play for Country Not For Self. Unfortunately for Germany, two close early losses to Kuwait and Botswana left them needing a final round win over Norway to avoid relegation, even though they were the only team to beat worthy winners Kuwait. Nigeria, another country with the raw potential to be a future force in the game came second, and Norway and a dissapointing Japan were relegated.

Next stop for the WCL train is Malaysia in September, where the hosts will wait with genuine minnows (albeit ones with extremely high levels of cricket participation) Jersey, Guernsey and Fiji.

The WT20 qualifiers represent the best chance for smaller teams to make their mark, albeit in a highly unfair way with just one qualifer progressing from the lower divisions. European Division 3 might have been played on artificial pitches with metal stumps, by players of limited ability, but the surrounds of Ljubljana, Slovenia and Velden, Austria make up the difference as the ICC's news video shows (watch them all, they are full of charming anecdotes). Sweden were the clear favourites with their large contingent of ex-pats and better developed league, and that showed as they stormed through unbeaten. Estonia were the unlucky second team, led with the bat by the tournament's top-scorer Slobodetsky (no expat name that). Division 2 will be played in Belgium in late June.

Reporting from the yet to be concluded African Division 2 is haphazard, with live scores but no fixtures, points table or easy to access results page on the web cricket site, and just articles at the ICC. Tanzania would have gone into this as favourites with Nigeria and Botswana challenging for the second qualifying spot, but upsets have been common with both Ghana and Sierra Leone challenging strongly. Going into the final day any of 4 teams could have progressed. Tanzania had two chances, but just failed on both occasions, losing to Botswana by 3 wickets and Nigeria by 6 runs. Botswana's win over the favourites was not enough however, as their 54 run loss to Ghana pushed their NRR below their opponent (apparently, though I can't find a table to confirm as much), and out of the qualification spots. The much smaller Division 1 tournament will be in Uganda in July.

Cricket - Associate 20th May, 2011 09:16:15   [#]