ONE day after an epic 57-ball hundred put his side into the cricket semi-finals, Patrick Matautaava’s spectacular all-round show floored Italy in a six-wicket win for Vanuatu to secure promotion to WCL Division Four.
Italy came into the match undefeated after topping Group B but were bowled out for a well-below par 183, having lost the toss.
The Italians overcame medium pacer Callum Blake’s double-strike in the fourth over to lay a solid foundation behind half centuries from Peter Petricola (60 off 80 balls) and Damian Crowley (65 off 94 balls). The pair added 124 for the second wicket to take their side to 137 for 2 in the 32nd over.
But a day after his four-for set the stage for a dramatic chase against Germany, off spinner Jelany Chilia sparked a collapse by snaring both Petricola and Crowley in back-to-back overs and finished with a vital 3 for 32. Captain Andrew Mansale and Matautaava then hastened the slide by taking two wickets apiece in late spells to wipe out the tail in quick fashion as Italy lost their last five wickets for 13 runs and were all out in 46.4 overs.
Openers Jonathon Dunn and Joshua Rasu started the chase in confident fashion, adding 73 in 14 overs for the first wicket, setting up a cakewalk for the middle order. But rather than coast, Matautaava stayed true to his natural instincts and bashed a half-century off 31 balls, bringing up the mark in the 24th over with his seventh four. He then teed off on Hasnat Ahmed’s leg spin in the 25th, carting him for three fours and a six before eventually falling for 83 off 60 balls.
By that stage, Vanuatu needed just 11 to win and Mansale finished the job, striking a boundary off the fifth ball of the 35th over to remain unbeaten on 15. Five years ago, Vanuatu played in the now defunct Division Eight held in Samoa, beating Ghana in the final. Vanuatu’s win over Italy, and the promotion to Division Four that comes with it, puts them in the top 30 of the ICC’s one-day rankings for the first time.
Following the victory, Vanuatu Cricket said: “We are proud of team Vanuatu’s achievements and we look forward to following the WCL Division 5 final which will see Vanuatu take on Jersey in South Africa.”
Jersey avoided the banana peel in the day’s other semi-final, trouncing Qatar by seven wickets, after Anthony Hawkins-Kay’s opening spell reduced them to 30 for 5 in the 16th over. The tall medium pacer bowled an unbroken 10-over new-ball spell, finishing with figures of 4 for 10, including four maidens.
Qatar’s outlandish hopes of crawling back into the match were pinned to No. 6 batsman Tamoor Sajjad, who scored more than half his side’s runs to finish with 79 off 103 balls as no one else in the top nine reached double digits. New ball left-arm swing bowler Cornelis Bodenstein returned at the death to claim Sajjad for the ninth wicket in the 45th and then knocked over tailender Mohammed Nadeem for a duck in the next over to wrap up Qatar’s innings for 152 in 46.3 overs.
Ex-captain Peter Gough and Nat Watkins added 83 in 16 overs to cruise toward the target. Gough eventually finished unbeaten on 71 off 80 balls as the winning runs came courtesy of four overthrows with 22.1 overs to spare. Jersey will meet Vanuatu in the Division Five Final on Saturday while Italy play Qatar in the third-place playoff.
In the loser’s bracket, Guernsey held off a late rally from Ghana to win by 23 runs. The decision to shuffle opener Matthew Stokes down to No. 4 resulted in a top score of 75 off 99 balls in Guernsey’s total of 213.
Ghana were 8 for 2 only seven balls into the chase before Samson Awiah entered at No. 4 and fought back with 65. Awiah added 89 for the fourth wicket with Obed Agbomadzie before his wicket triggered a middle-order slide from 131 for 3 to 143 for 6, leaving Ghana to get 70 off the last 10 overs. Julius Mensah fought valiantly with 33 off 25 balls but when he fell to end the 47th, the tail needed 24 off 18 balls. Instead, the match lasted just another three deliveries as Jamie Nussbaumer took two wickets while the No. 11 Godfred Bakiweyem was injured and unable to bat.
Germany will meet Guernsey in the fifth-place playoff on Saturday after defeating Cayman Islands by five wickets. Sacha de Alwis continued his solid run but was on the losing end for the fourth match in a row. De Alwis added 127 for the first wicket with Darren Cato (62 off 90 balls) and brought up his half-century off 66 balls but lost steam late in his innings. He only hit one more boundary after he crossed 50 until he was eventually dismissed for 94 off 127 balls in the 48th over as Cayman failed to ram home their early advantage before finishing on 268 for 6.
Venkatraman Ganesan followed up his 2 for 29 with the ball by top-scoring with 59 off 57 balls in the chase. Kevin Bazil took 3 for 57 but the tournament’s weakest bowling unit was exposed again as Germany overhauled the target with 8.1 overs to spare. Cayman has one more shot at registering their first win of the tournament in the seventh-place playoff against Ghana on Saturday.