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NIGERIA AND KUWAIT PROMOTED TO WORLD CRICKET LEAGUE DIVISION 6 | (2011-05-09 )
Nigeria and Kuwait will participate in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 6 (WCL Div. 6) tournament in Malaysia in September after the Nigerians defeated Botswana and Kuwait's match against Japan was abandoned due to rain in Gaborone, Botswana today. Germany beat Norway by 18 runs in a rain-shortened game thus relegating its fellow European side out of the league and maintaining its own position in WCL Div. 7. It was a disappointing start to the day for the hosts as it found itself reeling at 123 all out in just 37 overs in a game that was key for both African sides as it would prove the decider as to which would be promoted to Division 6 and which would be remaining in Division 7. Having lost the toss, Akrum Chand's side was put into bat and it was the day of Nigerian bowlers Sean Philips and Femi Oduyebo with the spinner and the medium pacer claiming three wickets each. Some poor batting by the hosts saw a number of errors with seven of the side out after being caught by some athletic Nigerian fielding. Thursday's star batsman Faisal Raza Rasheed departed for just four runs and not long after Denzil Sequeira departed after the diminutive batsman went down on one knee and skied the ball up for it to be caught by Ramit Gill. The downward spiral continued with the removal of captain Chand for just 28 runs, incidentally the top scorer of the side, and from there things went from bad to worse with the all-rounder James Moses' attempts to stabilize the innings thwarted when he departed for 24 after being judged leg-before. The removal of Omar Ali, when the 26-year-old edged the ball to have it caught in the slips by Gill, signaled more bad news for the hosts as the bottom order fell apart leaving the side on a low score of 123 all out. After a short innings break, Nigeria's openers Ademola Onikoyi and Segun Olayinka took to the field and it appeared the duo were only dealing in boundaries. Onikoyi smashed his way to six boundaries before being dismissed but not before the pair had made some 71 runs. A heavy downpour of rain interrupted play at the 11th over, leaving players and spectators running for cover as the heavens opened over the BCA Oval 1. After an extended lunch interval and drying up of the outfield, play resumed at 1500 with a revised target for the Nigerians of 120 in 47 overs. At the resumption of play it took the Nigerians another 14 overs to knock off the revised target with a star turn by Olayinka to guide the Nigerians to victory and a place in Division 6. The 22-year-old's 53 not out proved to be the highlight of Nigeria's innings after some disappointing bowling from Botswana with the hosts failing to spark after a poor morning with the bat. Only Karabo Modise and Segolame Ramatu took wickets for the hosts on a day that saw slack bowling and quality batting by Nigeria's batsmen. Winning captain Endurance Ofem was obviously delighted if a little surprised at the performance offered up by Botswana: "I expected more from them today, considering the fact that they chased down 271 but I told my guys that if we do well in the morning then the afternoon would be ours for the taking and they gave us the game. "I think our bowlers worked hard today and it really paid off for us and I'm very happy with how they've put smiles on the faces of those back home and everyone is happy with their performances. "Today is a great achievement for us as players and for the Nigerian supporters at home who have been following us throughout this event." Botswana national team coach Arjun Menon was disappointed with a poor batting display from his team. "The batting let us down today, from a bowling perspective we were in good form, we'd taken 33 wickets before today's game and we were always on top. You always need a good total to bowl at and 123 just wasn't good enough just like when we played Kuwait. It's just a real disappointment especially after coming off such a good batting display against Norway.