Kuwait Winners of Pepsi ICC WCL Division 7-Botswana 2011 and Promoted to Division 6
Kuwait beat Nigeria on 8th May 2011 by 72 runs in the final of Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 7 (WCL Div. 7) at Botswana Cricket Association Oval 1 in Gaborone.
Having been set a target of 220 by Kuwait, Nigeria didn't start well with the side losing wickets early on and despite a fight-back by the middle-order Kuwait's
Mohammad Murad had other plans in mind claiming 4-20 and walking away with the man of the match award for the final.
Murad's second man of the match award along with the fast bowler's 15 wickets in the tournament earned the 21-year-old the accolade of Player of the
Tournament. The left-armed bowler had an economy rate of just 3.47 while his best figures came against Norway when he took 6-39.
By virtue of reaching the final, both Kuwait and Nigeria joined Fiji, Malaysia, Jersey and Guernsey in the Pepsi ICC WCL Div. 6 which will be staged from
17 to 24 September in Malaysia.
Elsewhere, Germany beat Botswana in a close-fought fixture that saw the European side finish in third position in the tournament. The already relegated
Norway and Japan fought it out for fifth/sixth position with Norway coming out the victor by 56 runs at Lobatse.
Having won the toss, Endurance Ofem elected to bowl against Kuwait and the captain's decision didn't quite have the desired effect when opener Irfan Bhatti
hit 60 runs off 77 balls before being dismissed by Joshua Ogunlola after being caught behind by inform wicketkeeper Ademola Onikoyi.
Onikoyi had a great day behind the stumps claiming five catches while bowler Olajide Bejide claimed four wickets but the team's efforts in the field proved
futile as Kuwait's batsmen made a decent total of 219 in its 50 overs.
In reply, Nigeria's batting could not withstand fast bowler Murad whose four wickets for 20 runs in just 8.5 overs proved the cornerstone of the Kuwaiti side's
attack alongside Saad Khalid. The top order failed to perform today giving Kuwait's bowlers the chance to shine.
The victorious Kuwait captain Hisham Mirza said on receiving the trophy from ICC Board Director and Executive Board Director of Bermuda Cricket Neil Speight:
"I don't think we came into this tournament in Botswana as favourites as we didn't know the other teams we would be facing. It wasn't our home tournament and the
only side we had background on was Germany having played them in Division 8.
"We played each game as it came and it worked out well for us as we came out victorious again. I don't think I can single out one player that performed for me as
we are very much a team effort. However, I will mention my fast bowlers; they've been the best in Division 7 and Division 8 in my opinion. They are quick, they are
good but we're in this as a team.
"I don't think Malaysia will be that easy – we've made a few mistakes during this tournament and the higher the division the harder it gets for us as a team.
We need to make sure we're well prepared for the event and plug the loopholes in the team and hopefully we'll go there and even better side than
we were here in Botswana."