Jersey and Vanuatu will meet in the final of the ICC WCL Division 5 on Saturday after commanding semi-final wins on another action-packed day of cricket in South Africa.
The competition marks the start of their 2023 World Cup qualifying bid, and Vanuatu and Jersey will now fight for the trophy after seeing off Italy and Qatar respectively.
Victory also sees the two sides earn promotion to ICC WCL Division 4, regardless of the outcome on Saturday.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Germany and Guernsey against Cayman Islands and Ghana respectively as the competition heats up ahead of its final day.
Qatar arrived into the match on a high after booking a semi-final place on Wednesday, but it struggled when put into bat and lost influential captain Inam-ul-Haq for just five in the second over to Anthony Hawkins-Kay. Muhammad Tanveer (5) then departed just four overs later, while Qalandar Khan (4) survived ten overs before falling to Ben Stevens.
None of Qatar’s top five batsman reached double figures as Jersey’s in-form quick bowlers performed superbly – relishing the seamer-friendly conditions. But Tamoor Sajjad changed the game for Qatar, playing freely and striking the ball with menace and intent. He hit eight fours and three sixes in his knock of 79, before he eventually fell to Cameron Bodenstein – who finished with two for 17 from his 5.3 overs. Hawkins-Kay was the pick of the bowlers for Jersey and finished with four for ten, as his team dismissed Qatar for 152 in 46.3 overs.
Jersey’s run chase started steadily as Peter Gough and Nat Watkins put on 83 for the first wicket. Gough finished on 71 not out, while Watkins (37) and Jonty Jenner (33) made telling contributions. Qatar did not enjoy the same seamer-friendly conditions as Jersey, although Iqbal Hussain, Mohammad Nadeem and Sajjad all impressed. The trio all finished with one wicket each, but their failure to remove Gough made the difference as he provided the backbone to the innings in a seven-wicket victory.
Jersey captain Charles Perchard said: “We are very happy. We have put in a lot of hard work before this tournament and for it to come off and help us reach Division 4 is a massive feeling.
“We are looking forward to getting into training and building on our success here.”
Qatar skipper Ul-Haq said: “We have to try hard to stay in the division. We will fight for each other and re-group.”
There were scenes of jubilation at Willowmoore B, where Vanuatu beat Italy by six wickets – thanks in large part again to Patrick Matuataava. Vanuatu won the toss and elected to field, but that did not look like the right choice when Damian Crowley (65) and Peter Petricola (60) steered Italy to 137-2. But the spin of Jelany Chilia got Vanuatu back in the game, and he finished with three for 32. Matautaava, Callum Blake and Andrew Mansale all chipped in with two wickets each as Italy were dismissed for 183.
Vanuatu started positively in reply, with Jonathon Dunn (39) and Joshua Rasu (35) building the innings nicely.But Matautaava, who scored a century on Wednesday to secure a semi-final spot, took over again – hitting 83 off 60 balls with 11 fours and two sixes to see them home by six wickets.
Vanuatu skipper Mansale said: “I think it is about how you perform under pressure and our boys did well with both the ball and the bat. We will relax tomorrow now.”
Italy skipper Gayashan Munasinghe said: “The batting was not that good but we cannot complain much, things just did not work for us.”
Elsewhere, Guernsey put the disappointment of missing out on a semi-final place behind it with a 23-run win against Ghana. Guernsey went into bat first and but lost Josh Butler early to Godfred Bakiweyem for just one, however they quickly recovered and steadily built an innings. Ben Fitchet (31) and Matthew Stokes (75) did well on a tough surface, as they kept Ghana’s bowlers at bay.
Captain James Nussbaumer carried Guernsey to 213 with a late 26, and the bowlers then used that momentum to make early in-roads into Ghana’s top order. Nussbaumer was particularly dangerous and he finished with three for 34, while Oliver Newey and David Hooper both took two wickets. Samson Awiah hit 65 for the African nation, but it fell just short – eventually being dismissed for 190.
Guernsey’s Nussbaumer said: “The guys kept fighting and we battled through. We got over the line and it would be nice to have an easy win one of these days.”
Ghana’s Peter Ananya said: “We fought a really tough match but we were not good enough, that is the nature of the game and we take it as it is.
“Hopefully we learn from the mistakes we have made.”
The last match of another exciting day to finish came at Willowmoore A where Germany chased down Cayman Islands to win by five wickets. Batting first, Cayman Islands made a strong start as opener Sacha De Alwis and Darren Cato put on 127 for the first wicket. De Alwis was particularly impressive as he hit 94, while Cato backed him up with a steady 62. Germany battled back into the match with accurate bowling and limited Cayman Islands to 268 for six from its 50 overs.
Germany’s reply started positively as Daniel Weston and Mudassar Muhammad put on an opening partnership of 64. Muhammad (47) and Venkatraman Ganesan (59) then built the innings impressively as Germany ate into Cayman Islands’ lead. And a late flurry from captain Rishi Pillai (35 not out) saw it home in style. It will now meet Guernsey on Saturday.
Germany captain Pillai said: “This is the way we play. We are a well-oiled machine and we looked like that today.”
Cayman Islands captain Ramon Sealy said: “I thought we had enough runs on the board but Germany were impressive. We dropped a few catches and it cost us the game.”
Scores in brief
Vanuatu beat Italy by six wickets at Willowmoore B, Benoni
Italy 183 all out, 46.4 overs (Damian Crowley 65, Peter Petricola 60; Jelany Chilia 3-32, Callum Blake 2-33)
Vanuatu 186-4, 34.5 overs (Patrick Matuataava 83, Jonathon Dunn 39, Joshua Rasu 35; Hasnat Ahmed 2-37, Rakibul Hasan 1-13, Madupi Fernando 1-39)
Jersey beat Qatar by seven wickets at Willowmoore C, Benoni
Qatar 152 all out, 46.3 overs (Tamoor Sajjad 79, Awais Malik 20; Anthony Hawkins-Kay 4-10, Cornelis Bodenstein 2-17)
Jersey 155-3, 27.5 overs (Peter Gough 71 not out, Nat Watkins 37; Iqbal Hussain 1-27, Mohammed Nadeem 1-43)
Germany beat Cayman Islands by five wickets at Willowmoore A, Benoni
Cayman Islands 268-6, 50 overs (Sacha De Alwis 94, Darren Cato 62; Venkatraman Ganesan 2-29, Mudassar Muhammad 1-27)
Germany 271-5, 41.5 overs (Venkatraman Ganesan 59, Mudassar Muhammad 47, Amith Sarma 40; Kevin Bazil 3-57, Corey Cato 1-41)
Guernsey beat Ghana by 23 runs at Sahara Main Oval, Benoni
Guernsey 213 all out, 47.4 overs (Matthew Stokes 75, Ben Ferbrache 34; Kofi Bagabena 3-32, Michael Aboagye 2-45, Godfred Bakiweyem 1-26)
Ghana 190 all out, 47.3 overs (Samson Awiah 65, Obed Agbomadzie 41, Julius Mensah 33; Jamie Nussbaumer 3-34, Oliver Newey 2-27)
TEAM M W L T P
Italy 3 3 0 0 6
Qatar 3 2 1 0 4
Guern 3 1 2 0 2
Caym 3 0 3 0 0
TEAM M W L T P
Jersey 3 3 0 0 6
Van 3 1 2 0 2
Ger 3 1 2 0 2
Ghana 3 1 2 0 2
9 September: Final - Jersey v Vanuatu (Sahara Main Oval); 3rd v 4th place play-off Italy v Qatar (Willowmoore Park A); Guernsey v Germany (Willowmoore B); Ghana v Cayman Islands (Willowmoore C)