Thursday, 22 February 2007

Review of World Cricket League 2006/07

The World Cricket League in Kenya lived up to almost all expectations. The weather, which has been iffy for several months, held firm with rain limited to some overnight downpours; the participants were so evenly matched that all - bar Bermuda - could claim to have done enough to reach the final; and it produced some excellent cricket and more than it's fair share of epic finishes. Martin Williamson looks back at the performances for the six leading Associates and what they can take out of the event ... and what it means for their chances in the World Cup


P 6 W 5 L 1
With home advantage, nothing less than a final berth was good enough and Kenya achieved that and more, beating Scotland and thus avenging their only loss in the process. The place in the Twenty20 World Championship that came with that was welcome, but the US$250,000 that went with it was vital to the game's future in the country. The side still showed that when it had an off day, it was really off, and they had some luck along the way, but the batsmen scored heavily without relying on old favourites Steve Tikolo and Ravi Shah. The opening position remains a worry, as Maurice Ouma is just not good enough at the top of the order, but the rest of the top six picks itself. The bowling is balanced, the spinners are parsimonious, and the new-ball pair of Peter Ongondo and Thomas Odoyo were outstanding. Odoyo also clobbered some hefty sixes and is one to watch in the Caribbean.
Success Peter Ongondo. The leading wicket taker (15 at 12.06), a reward for nagging accuracy and hard work with the new ball.
Disappointment Ravi Shah. His maiden hundred in Mombasa hinted that he was ready to rumble, but he spluttered his way to 61 runs in five group-stage innings.
World Cup prospects Excellent. They are in a group with Canada, who they thrashed here, England , who are hardly one-day goliaths, and New Zealand. They have a great chance to reach the Super Eights and dump on one of the big boys en route.


P 6 W 4 L 2
The defeat in the final, and a fairly irrelevant loss to Bermuda in the final dead group match, should not disguise the fact that this was a good tournament for the Scots. They came in on the back of some indifferent results but hit form just when it mattered and were an impressive allround outfit. Nevertheless, three of their four wins were by narrow margins, and they relied on their batting to get them out of jail.

Success Paul Hoffmann. The veteran opening bowler kept a tight rein with the new ball and his last over in the win over Netherlands was coolness under pressure.
Disappointment Ryan Watson. A decent tournament by most people's standards, but more was expected and one fifty in six innings was an under-par return.
World Cup prospects
South Africa and Australia will be too good, leaving the tie against Netherlands their final.


P 5 W 3 L 2

But for being stuck in and bowled out cheaply by Kenya in bowler-friendly conditions, Netherlands might well have qualified for the final. They lost that, and their only other defeat was a two-run loss by Scotland where the victors received an extra delivery courtesy of a seven-ball over resulting from an umpire's miscalculation and Netherlands lost three wickets in the last over. Their top-order batting looked impressive, especially Bas Zuiderent, and the bowling was tight. They just need a little more luck. Success Ryan ten Doeschate. His prowess as a batsman was known, but he proved a real allrounder with 13 wickets at 15.00
Disappointment Tim de Leede. 71 runs in his last nine ODIs, his form here with both bat and ball was below-par.

World Cup prospects They are in a tough group and it is hard to see them troubling either South Africa or Australia. A consolation win against Scotland is about as much as they can hope for.

P 5 W 2 L 3

They came close but in the end the lack of strength in depth proved their undoing. Only three batsmen passed a hundred runs, and were it not for Ashish Bagai they would have really struggled to post decent scores. Their finest moment came when they made 312 for 4 to beat Ireland, but their seamers, with the exception of Umar Bhatti, lacked the control to put on any sustained pressure.
Success Ashish Bagai. The leading batsman of the tournament with 345 runs at 86.25 including two impressive hundreds.
Disappointment Anderson Cummins. The gamble of picking the 40-year-old former West Indies international didn't pay off and his bowling lacked penetration or control.
World Cup prospects The group is one which is set up for an upset, and if ... and it is a big if ... everything comes together at the same time, Canada could be the surprise package.

P 5 W 1 L 4

A bitterly disappointing tournament where one win in no way reflects the side's ability. All four of their defeats were narrow, and the loss to Kenya in a game there for the taking was a killer blow. Ireland's batting was strong - they made five of the ten hundreds in the tournament - but their bowlers were just not able to defend large totals, and that proved their undoing throughout. It is an aspect of their game that must be addressed as it will continue to be their undoing.
Success William Porterfield. Aged 22, Porterfield, had played only two ODIs before the tournament, but in five innings he made two hundreds and an eighty to finish with an average of 110.00
Disappointment Dave Langford-Smith. Harsh to single him out because several bowlers could easily be chosen, but as an opening bowler one wicket at 178.00 and an economy rate of 5.74 was poor.
World Cup prospects Their bad luck continues as they have to play Pakistan and hosts West Indies . But they open against the hapless Zimbabweans and are more than capable of beating them.

P 5 W 1 L 4

Little was expected from Bermuda and they delivered just that. A win in their final game against a Scotland side with one eye on the final should not gloss over what was a dismal display. The criticisms levelled against Bermuda after their tour here in November still apply. They look unfit, unprofessional and on occasion uninterested, and that was highlighted by the smiles on players' faces as they walked off the field after being routed by Kenya in their opening game. Forget the World Cup, Bermuda now face a major struggle to maintain their top-six Associate status at the 2009 ICC Trophy. Success Lionel Cann. Led from the front with the bat, but the best of a bad bunch to be quite brutal.

Disappointment Where to start ... Kevin Hurdle showed that he lacks the control to be a new-ball bowler and an economy rate of almost seven and an average of 74.33 is not good enough.
World Cup prospects India and Sri Lanka will be too good, and on recent performances, Bangladesh - no longer a one-day minnow - are way out of their league as well.

From Cricinfo.

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Kenya Wins the inaugural ICC World Cricket League

From ICC

David Obuya hit a decisive 93 for Kenya as the hosts secured an eight-wicket victory over Scotland to clinch the inaugural ICC World Cricket League Division 1 title at Gymkhana on Wednesday.

Scotland captain Craig Wright won the toss and, as he did on Sunday when the Scots completed a 77-run win over the Kenyans, opted to bat first.

Sadly for the Scots, they fell well short of the 254 total posted three days ago, managing just 155 all out in 47 overs with Lameck Onyango claiming three for 43.

The Kenyans took no chances in amassing 158, losing just two wickets with Obuya helped out by Maurice Ouma (23), Ravi Shah (24 not out) and Steve Tikolo (12 not out) as Roger Harper's side triumphed with 12.1 overs to spare.

Scotland coach Peter Drinnen recalled Fraser Watts, John Blain, Colin Smith and Paul Hoffmann after the quartet were rested for Monday's match against

Bermuda, while Harper stuck with the same Kenya side that saw off Canada.

Thomas Odoyo, who ripped through Canada's top order on Monday to help Kenya secure their place in the final, made the breakthrough in the fifth over with the dismissal of Majid Haq.

Haq, man-of-the-match last time out against the Kenyans for his innings of 71, made three on this occasion before edging to Tikolo at slip.

His replacement Ryan Watson had a let-off in the eighth over when he was put down by wicketkeeper Ouma off the bowling of Peter Ongondo.

The Scots suffered two scares in the 11th over, bowled by Odoyo.

First Watts was lucky not to be run out when Watson took a risky quick single which would have seen the opener walking had David Obuya managed a direct hit at the bowler's end. Then Watson offered a chance which fell just short of Obuya.

Watson's luck ran out four overs later when, after making 28, he mis-cued a pull shot off Onyango and looped the ball high to Ongondo at short fine-leg to leave the Scots on 59 for two.

Watts soon followed for 24, lashing a Ongondo delivery to square leg, where Tanmay Mishra held on at the second attempt.

Hiren Varaiya was then brought into the Kenyan attack and his slow left-arm orthodox bowling had an immediate impact. His second ball induced an edge from Gavin Hamilton, Ouma taking the catch before Hamilton had put a run on the board.

Neil McCallum - hero of Scotland's opening-game triumph over Ireland last week - was another who failed to trouble the scorers before being the victim of a brilliant piece of fielding by David Obuya.

Varaiya was again the bowler, enticing the Edinburgh-born batsman to come down the pitch. But his mis-hit only went to silly point and Obuya, whose quick thinking and accurate throw sent McCallum on his way.

Smith fared only slight better, making one before being trapped leg before wicket by Onyango to leave the Scots reeling on 66 for six.

Dougie Brown stuck around with Wright long enough to add 13 to the total, but was then run out after good work from Collins Obuya when attempting a quick single.

Wright's innings came to an end two overs later, playing across the line to Jimmy Kamande. He was given out lbw by umpire Darrell Hair after making 30.

Blain made nine before clipping a Kamande delivery to mid-wicket and providing Tikolo with his second catch of the innings.

In typical fashion, Hoffmann's first contribution was a six off Kamande, and he added two boundaries in the next over bowled by Onyango before being caught by Kamande at point, leaving Ross Lyons unbeaten on 23.

The Kenyans did not set about their pursuit of 156 in any great hurry, with the required run-rate only marginally over three an over.

Ouma threw his wicket away needlessly attempting a single that David Obuya was not interested in, McCallum's throw from point proving his downfall.

Obuya was not happy with his opening partner, throwing his bat down indisgust. But he did not let that distract him for too long.

He eventually fell just seven runs short of his century, clipping a Lyons delivery to Hamilton at mid-wicket.

But that merely delayed the inevitable as skipper Tikolo came in and hit 12 off seven balls - fittingly ending with a boundary - to see his team home in style.

ICC Delares Winners for ICC Development Program

The ICC has announced the regional winners of the ICC Development Program Awards 2006 with Guernsey, Jersey and Ireland coming out on top for the European Region.

Guernsey Cricket Board picked up the Best Overall Cricket Development Program Award for their development program governed by the Guernsey Young Cricketers Development Committee and spearheaded by Jason Shambrook, full-time Cricket Development Officer, and Jon Orme, full-time Cricket Development Coach. The program begins in schools, giving children as young as seven years of age the opportunity to take part in cricket, and providing a player pathway to develop and feed these youngsters into senior club cricket.

Guernsey also had success in the Best Women’s Initiative category, where a series of after school ‘clubs’ resulted in the first ever match between two all-girls colleges and from this stemmed the first girls-only cricket league.

The Jersey Cricket Board picked up two awards - the first in the Marketing and Promotional Program category, for its newsletter “Around the Boundary” and the second the Spirit of Cricket Initiative in association with UNAIDS, awarded for a joint venture between the Jersey Cricket Board Development Team and St James School, a school for children with emotional and behavioural disorders. Children from the school formed a combined cricket team with two other primary schools enabling them to compete in a hardball match for the first time.

The Irish Cricket Union produced two successes in the Volunteer of the Year and Lifetime Service categories. Richard Johnson won the Volunteer award for his tireless contributions to Irish and European cricket, which included helping to stage Ireland’s first official ODI against England and organising the Under 19 European Championships in 2006.

The Lifetime Service award went to Clarissa Pilkington who, amongst her many contributions to women’s cricket in Ireland, led the steering committee for the formation of the Irish Women’s Cricket Union in 1982 and guided the Irish team to their first World Cup in Australia in 1987.

Elsewhere Belgium won the award for Best Junior Initiative following a year of hard work by Full Time Youth Development officer Fazil Mahmoud, which has delivered cricket to many Belgian schools and has brought a new crop of youngsters to the game. And finally, The Photo of the Year award went to a pair of action shots from Peter Power of Denmark.

ICC Regional Development Manager-Europe Richard Holdsworth commented on the awards. “Each year Europe’s member countries continue to produce great initiatives to develop the game, particularly at youth level. This area is so crucial if the game it to grow and further develop and all the very many volunteers and professionals should be congratulated on their efforts. It is particularly encouraging to see the women’s game grow so quickly and participation increase by 37% in the last 12 months”.

ICC global development manager Matthew Kennedy congratulated all of the award winners on their achievements. “Winning these awards is a fantastic tribute to the successful Members,” said Kennedy. “They will rightly take the plaudits but the whole process of deciding the winners has left the regional judges feeling immensely positive about the health of the game around the world. Since the ICC’s Development Program began in 1997 the number of ICC Members has more than doubled and the sheer volume and quality of nominations for these awards is a positive indicator that cricket is a strong sport growing stronger.

“This year’s awards illustrate the way many established development programs are flourishing. At the same time it is really pleasing to see awards going to Members for the first time and also that women have received significant recognition for contributions to the game.”
Best Overall Cricket Development Program - Guernsey Cricket Board

Best Junior Cricket Initiative - Belgian Cricket Federation

Best Women’s Cricket Initiative - Guernsey Cricket Board

Best Cricket Promotional and Marketing Program - Jersey Cricket Board Newsletter

Photo of the Year - Peter Power (Denmark)

Best Spirit of Cricket Initiative in Partnership with UNAIDS - Jersey Cricket Board Development Team & St James School (Jersey)

Volunteer of the Year - Richard Johnson (Ireland)

Lifetime Service Award - Clarissa Pilkington (Ireland)

Cricket Information for the Associate Countries

I am starting another blog to provide cricket information for the minnow countries. Associate countries are showing great spirit and recently concluded World Cricket League is an example of that. Currently, 32 countries are enlisted as Associate Countries. They are

Associate Members

These are countries where cricket is firmly established and organised but do not qualify for Full Membership. There are 32 Associate Members.

ICC Associates
Cayman Islands
Hong Kong