Vanuatu and Nigeria have both secured promotion to Pepsi ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division 6 and a place in Saturday's final of the Division 7 tournament after final round victories in Botswana on Friday
In Gaborone, Vanuatu continued its dominant display in the tournament, chasing down the modest target of 115 runs to defeat Ghana by eight wickets in 22.1 overs in its final group match.
Vanuatu's Trevor Langa again starred with the bat, commencing the run chase with fervor. The Ghana bowling attack was not able to contain the run rate, until 15 year old Vincent Ateak broke through to dismiss Damian Smith (12) and then dangerman Langa (54). Langa's 44-ball 54 included the only two sixes of the match, and when he was dismissed lbw in the fifteenth over, Vanuatu was sitting pretty at 85 for two. The run rate slowed down with captain Andrew Mansale (23 not out) and Simpson Obed (9 not out), but both were still at the crease when Vanuatu reached its target of 116 in the 23rd over, with eight wickets in hand.
Ghana's Ateak was the only bowler to take wickets, claiming both Langa and Smith at an economy of 2.50.
Earlier, Ghana had nothing to lose and openers Francis Bakiweyem (13) and Simon Ateak (21) were off to a flying start. However, Appolinaire Stephen quickly suffocated the batting efforts, and after dismissing Bakiweyem in the eighth over, wickets began to fall at regular intervals. Stephen took the key wickets of Ateak, Samson Awiah (9) and Obed Harvey (5), and only Stephen Bagabina was able to score double figures (23 not out) before Ghana was eventually dismissed for 115 in the 33rd over.
For Vanuatu, player of the match Stephen (6-30) was the pick of a thoroughly disciplined display in the field, while Kenny Tari, Harvey Obed and Mansale picked up one each.
Vanuatu captain Andrew Mansale was delighted both by his team's performance and its promotion to Division 6: "It was great playing against a team like Ghana who we both came up from Division 8 in Samoa. We know our game very well but we just manage to put on a good performance and I am so proud of my boys the way they played was so great."
Ghana's Peter Ananya was disappointed with his team's performance, saying: "We had a very bad day and Vanuatu deserves its victory."
Also in Gaborone, in a match that Nigeria needed to win by a large margin to stay in contention for a top two finish, an all-round effort saw Nigeria defeat Germany by 160 runs to leap-frog ahead of Fiji into second place based on net run rate.
Opener Ademola Onikoyi (73) and Endurance Ofem (31) ensured that Nigeria set a competitive run rate from the start. Double figures from most batsmen thwarted the efforts of the Germany bowlers, and half centuries from Ricky Sharma (60 not out) and Oluseye Olympio (52) kept up the pressure. Olympio came to the crease when Nigeria was 230 for 5 in the 43rd over, and he decided to hit hard, taking only 22 balls to reach 52. Nigeria reached 308 for seven in its allotted overs, the first team of the tournament to score more than 300 runs.
An early onslaught by the opening pair of Dilshan Rajudeen (30) and Farooq Ahmed (14) of Germany gave Nigeria something to fear. Ahmed was the first wicket to fall, leaving his team at 27 for one in the second over. Germany maintained a run rate of seven until the 10th over, despite losing three more wickets in that time, including that of Rajudeen. With only six wickets in hand, Germany could not withstand the Nigeria bowling attack, and the wickets continued to fall until Germany was all out for 148 in the twenty-eighth over.
Player of the match Joshua Ogunlola was the pick of the bowlers, taking 5-34, while Saheed Akolade took 2-63.
Nigeria captain Adekunle Adegbola was ecstatic with his team's performance: "We had a very good batting innings from the Nigerian side, and, to cap it off, an excellent bowling display by Ogunlola Joshua. Overall, it was a very sweet victory and an excellent performance."
Germany captain Asif Khan remained positive despite his side's loss, saying: "The match was played in good spirits."
In the match that decided which team would join Vanuatu in Division 6, host Botswana defeated Fiji by 22 runs in the upset of the tournament in Lobatse. Needing to win the encounter to guarantee its second spot on the ladder, Fiji won the toss and elected to field. The decision appeared to be the right one when Tukana Tavo dismissed Botswana opener Faisal Rana Rasheed (0), the second highest run-getter of the tournament, on the first ball, and then fellow opener Saad Mohyuddin (2) eight overs later. However, the top order rallied and Karabo Motlhanka (29) played a patient innings while captain Karabo Modise (35) picked up the run rate. Denzil Sequeira (26) and Hasantha Mudiyanselage (22) made handy contributions, but three quick wickets saw the host slide from 135 for six to a precarious 151 for eight. A 25-ball 33 by Nabil Master saw the host reach 198 before being dismissed in the 48th over.
For Fiji, bowling honours were shared between six, with T Tavo (3-22), 44 year old Iniasi Cakacaka (2-21), Jikoi Kida (2-34) and Kitione Tavo (2-38) making the major contributions.
Fiji's reply could not have started worse, losing three wickets in the first seven overs to leave the pacific nation reeling at four for three wickets. Viliame Yabaki came to the rescue with a restrained knock of 28, before 41-year old Joji Bulabalavu (23) and Kitione Tavo (62 not out) increased the run rate. However, the Botswana bowlers kept the pressure on and took regular wickets, and Fiji eventually fell 22 runs short of its target, being dismissed for 176 in the penultimate over.
Player of the match Russell Withey captured 4-30, including dangerman Jikoi Kida for a duck, while Hasantha Mudiyanselage claimed 3-24.
Botswana captain Karabo Modise was very pleased with his team's performance under pressure, saying: "It was a really exciting game ? a great low scoring game played in the right spirit."
Peter Ananya, the captain of Fiji, was disappointed with his side's batting, saying: "It was a very good game, and congratulations to Botswana for a very good game. We were unlucky to lose vital wickets at the start of our innings and had to struggle at the end."
Vanuatu will now play Nigeria in the final, while Fiji will face Botswana in the 3rd v 4th play-off and Ghana will lock horns with Germany in the 5th v 6th play-off.
At BCA No. 1: Final: Vanuatu v Nigeria
At BCA No. 2: 3rd v 4th play-off: Fiji v Botswana
At Lobatse: 5th v 6th play-off: Ghana v Germany
All matches are scheduled to start at 0930 local time
Scores in brief:
At BCA No. 1
Ghana 115 all out, 32.4 overs (Bagabena 23 not out, S Ateak 21; Stephen 6-30)
Vanuatu 116 for 2, 22.1 overs (Langa 54, Mansale 23 not out; V Ateak 2-23)
Vanuatu won by 8 wickets
Player of the Match: Appolinaire Stephen (Vanuatu)
At BCA No. 2
Nigeria 308 for 7, 50 overs (Onikoyi 73, Sharma 62, Olympio 52; Ahmed 3-63)
Germany 148 all out, 28 overs (Rajudeen 30, De Silva 17, Malviya 17; Ogunlola 5-34)
Nigeria won by 160 runs
Player of the Match: Joshua Ogunlola (Nigeria)
Botswana 198 all out, 47.2 overs (Modise 35, Master 33, Sequeira 26; T Tavo 3-22)
Fiji 176 all out, 48.4 overs (K Tavo 62 not out, Yabaki 28; Withey 4-30, Mudiyanselage 3-24)
Botswana won by 22 runs
Player of the Match: Russel Withey (Botswana)