Malaysia and Singapore promoted to Pepsi ICC WCL Div. 4

Pepsi ICC WCL, Malaysia and Singapore both won promotion from Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 5 (WCL Div. 5) in Singapore today. Malaysia, despite losing by two wickets to Bahrain today, secured promotion by virtue of winning four of its five round-robin fixtures, while Singapore beat Argentina today to take its wins to four in the tournament and secure promotion out of the division.

Meanwhile, Bahrain despite its win over Malaysia and Argentina’s loss to Singapore has meant the two sides have been relegated out of WCL Div. 5. Guernsey’s victory over Cayman Islands today at Kallang has ensured it maintains its place in the tournament, while the Cayman Islands remain in the division by virtue of having a superior run-rate to Bahrain.

Tomorrow will see the global rankings play-offs between the sides with Singapore playing Malaysia in the final of the tournament at Kallang. At the famous Singapore Cricket Club, host Singapore took on relegation-bound Argentina in a match that was something of a David versus Goliath.

Prior to the match beginning, the two sides gathered with the match officials for a minute of silence in a sign of solidarity for the recent train crash in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, from where the majority of the Argentina team hail. When proceedings began, Singapore’s in-form batting duo of birthday boy Chetan Suryawanshi and Anish Param both departed early from the party leaving Chaminda Ruwan and Kshitij Shinde to make the majority of the runs for the host in the blazing morning sun.

The side featured a changed batting line-up with the inclusion of some of the reserves for the final round-robin game – a decision that coach Trevor Chappell may have regretted, especially when veteran batsman Munish Arora departed for just six runs after edging the ball to Argentine wicketkeeper Hernan Williams. However, Chris Janik’s cameo 33 runs at six and Pramodh Raja’s 17 at number eight would have restored the former Australian international cricketer’s beliefs in his reserves.

Argentina proved athletic in the field, with captain Esteban MacDermott claiming one wicket but also being a key hand in two run-outs, Param and Janik, both key batsmen for the Singaporeans. But the Argentines once again gave away too many runs and ultimately were left to chase down 240.

In reply, Singapore’s star bowler Shoib Razzak once again showed his mettle, the 34-year-old medium pacer claiming four wickets including key scalps of opener Grant Dugmore and Matias Paterlini. Raja also proved a good addition, the 31-year-old fast bowler dismissing opener Lucas Paterlini as well as MacDermott the pinch-hitter of the Argentina side.

Argentina was skittle for just 93 runs against a superior bowling and fielding attack and thus sealed its fate of relegation into Pepsi ICC WCL Div. 6, a place MacDermott admitted the side needed to rebuild from: “We are disappointed at being relegated out of Division 5, however we knew this week was going to be tough for us and it’s shown us where we are struggling.

“We need to go back to Argentina, to look at our cricket and see how we can improve and bring new faces and youth into the game and continue to develop and grow as a side.” Singapore captain Saad was delighted with the team’s win but keen to complete the tournament with a victory over Malaysia in tomorrow’s final: “Firstly, I’m pleased we have secured promotion to Division 4 which was our main goal of this tournament.

“I was pleased with our bowling today, I think Shoib once again showed how important he is in the Singapore bowling line-up. Shinde and Chaminda scored runs today but we all need to pull together ahead of tomorrow when we face Malaysia. It would be a great end to the tournament if we were to win at home and to beat Malaysia, especially having lost to them in the league stage of the tournament.”

In the Asia match of the day – Malaysia took on Bahrain at the Indian Association with the Bahrainis’ coming off victorious in a match that Malaysia had been expected to win as the in-form side of the event. Having won the toss – the Malaysian batting struggled against Rizwan Baig’s fast bowling, with four of the Malaysians departing at his expense, including key middle-order batsman Suresh Navaratnam and top order stroke-maker Anwar Arudin, the latter having completed his half-century.

Former Malaysian captain Suhan Alagaratnam corner-stoned the innings with 54 runs while Hiran Ralalage made a cameo with the bat scoring 34 however the Malaysians final total of 195 was slightly too low on the smallest of the grounds being used for the event. In reply, Bahrain looked set for disaster after the team were flailing with five runs on the board and one wicket down before lunch, however Yaser Sadeq’s men had other things in mind.

Led by the evergreen Adil Hanif in the afternoon heat, the 33-year-old made a splendid 65 runs striking five boundaries and two sixes in the process. Rizwan and Shahzad Ahmed assisted on the run-making and despite a late flurry of wickets, the team managed to steer itself to its second win, with two wickets in hand. Unfortunately the side’s run-rate was not superior to Cayman Islands and thus the side were relegated into Division 6, a disappointment for Yaser.

“We are disappointed, today we played the cricket we should have played all week and we knew we could win this match. We had hoped for promotion to help us to improve even further as a side and help us to push the youth through this team since it’s now in need of some fresh faces. “We’ll go back to Bahrain, regroup and hopefully we can improve and come back stronger next time we compete and regain promotion.” Meanwhile, Navaratanam was disappointed with the loss but focused on the positives: “We would have liked to make it a clean sweep with the league matches but it was not to be today.

“We’ve won promotion out of this division which is what we ultimately wanted to do. We’re excited to be facing up to sides like Nepal, Tanzania, Denmark and USA – some of whom we haven’t played at all or in quite some time. “Tomorrow’s game is going to be a big one no matter what for us – we may play Singapore five or six times a year, but we want to come out the winners of this event and walk away with the trophy.”

Guernsey took on Cayman Islands at Kallang, the biggest of the three venues hosting in Singapore where once again Steve Gordon led the Caymanian batting line up while Guernsey’s bowling unit was today led by the off-spin of GH Smit who proved useful for the Channel Islanders when it came to dismissing the Caribbean side for 164 in less than 48 overs.

In reply, Guernsey’s batting line-up was led once again by the in-form Smit, alongside Tim Ravenscroft with the duo knocking 107 runs off the target before Smit was clean bowled by Alessandro Morris. The side lost another three wickets, but stalwart Jeremy Frith ensured the side was steered to victory alongside Ben Ferbrache and secure its placing in Division 5.

Both Guernsey coach Andy Cornford and Cayman Islands coach Theo Cuffy admitted that it was time for reflection and rebuilding with their respective sides.

Cuffy said: “I am happy that we have maintained our position in Division 5, however I did come here with the belief we could have won promotion back to Division 4. Now it is about regrouping as a team and looking to the younger players and seeing how we can develop and improve the game further in the Cayman Islands.

“I think what let us down here was a lack of professionalism by our senior players and the fact a number of our junior players didn’t seem willing to learn the trade. Our players need to go home and look inwardly about what they can do to help cricket and its development on the islands.”

Cornford added: “The whole side is disappointed that we have lost out on promotion from the event but we are content that we have cemented our position in the league. We came here to be promoted but we haven’t played out best cricket this week and its showed.

“I’m particularly happy with the bowling unit this week and how it performed especially as it’s a young unit with the likes of Jamie Nussbaumer and David Hooper. Our batting performance was a disappointment this week and especially our partnerships cost us.

“We’ve six weeks off now before our domestic season starts and the rebuilding begins now for the future and the next WCL Div. 5.”

Tomorrow will see Singapore take on Malaysia in the final at Kallang, while Guernsey will once again play Cayman Islands this time at SCC for third/fourth place while Bahrain will play Argentina at the Indian Association.

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