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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.