Cayman clinches WCL Division 3 spot

Leading up to this event, the clash between the Cayman Islands and Argentina had shaped up as being vital for qualification for next year’s World Cricket League Division 3 tournament. However, the Cayman Islands’ great victory over Canada earlier in the week, along with subsequent results, had virtually clinched the spot for the Caymans.

Argentina won the toss and elected to bowl first in grey overcast conditions, but Cayman openers Steve Gordon and Keneil Irving saw their team off to a steady start with a 78 run partnership in only 11 overs. Irving was first to go for 30, in 36 balls with 4 fours and a six, while Gordon continued his good tournament form to make 49, in 66 balls, including 7 fours.

However, Argentina fought back in determined fashion, and bowled and fielded tigerishly to reduce their more fancied opposition to 171 for 7 by the 38th over, and it looked like the second big upset of the week was on the cards.

All the while, though, the experienced Pearson Best batted with confidence and it was almost entirely due to his superb undefeated 116 that saw the Cayman Islands post an imposing 265 for 7 in their 50 overs.

Best, later named man of the match, was at the crease for 116 balls, and struck 11 fours and 5 powerful sixes. Together with Ronald Ebanks, who contributed a valuable 21 not out, off 33 balls with 2 fours, an unbroken eighth wicket stand of 94 had seemingly taken the game away from Argentina again.

For the Argentines, pick of the bowlers was medium-pacer Matias Paterlini, who returned fine figures of 3 for 41 off 10 overs, while skipper Esteban MacDermott, 1 for 35 in 10 overs, and Diego Lord, with 1 for 39 in 8 overs, also stood out.

In reply, Argentina battled from the start against some exceedingly tight bowling, and struggled to shake off the shackles. After 24 overs they had only reached 64, and crucially lost 4 wickets in the process. A solid partnership of 60 for the fifth wicket between key batsmen Gary Savage, who top-scored with 44 off 102 balls, with 3 fours, and Donny Forrester, who made 28 off 27 balls with 2 fours, briefly raised Argentine hopes.

But with the departure of Forrester in the 34th over, with the score at 126, the Argentine lower order were subjected to a fiery spell of bowling from Ronald Ebanks, and they crumbled to 151 all out in the 40th over and defeat by 114 runs.

Ebanks completed an outstanding haul of 5 wickets for 47 runs in 9, 4 overs, while Franklin Hinds had bowled in miserly fashion at the top of the innings, taking 2 for 17 in his 10 overs.

Thus the Cayman Islands deservedly qualify for the World Cricket League Division 3 tournament next year, while Argentina, despite showing enormous improvement in their overall displays, will have to re-qualify from the regional Division 2 tournament in two years time.

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