Centurion Cush helps USA defeat Italy to claim top spot in Pepsi ICC WCL Div. 4
USA's Sushil Nadkarni named Player of the Tournament
USA and Italy jump to 25 and 26 in world rankings
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The United States of America (USA) beat Italy by eight wickets in the final of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 4 at the Pianoro ground in Bologna on Saturday.
Having been set a target by Italy of 186, USA claimed victory after a dazzling century by Lennox Cush set the side up for an easy win. By virtue of reaching the final, both Italy and the USA joined Papua New Guinea, Denmark, Oman and host Hong Kong in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 to be staged at the end of January 2011.
Elsewhere, Nepal defeated Tanzania by 10 wickets in the third-fourth position play-off at Medicina while Cayman Islands beat Argentina by seven wickets to take fifth place. Nepal and Tanzania stayed in Division 4 while Argentina and Cayman Islands were relegated to Division 5.
After the group stage, the USA had finished on top of the table in the six-team tournament. Today, Steve Massiah's men were ready to avenge the Italy side that had inflicted the only defeat on the team during the course of the tournament's group stages.
The USA's Adrian Gordon had a fantastic day with the ball, the 22-year-old New Yorker claiming 4-35 in a spell that saw him dismiss the key wickets of Peter Petricola, Damian Crowley and Hayden Patrizi.
Italy was reduced to 116-8 in the 35th over before Roshendra Abeywickrama and Dilan Fernando added another 18 runs as the host's innings drew to a close.
After the innings break the North Americans made light work of the total with opener Cush smashing his way to a 52-ball century to all but seal the win for the side. He departed one run later and the task of completing the win fell to Massiah and wicketkeeper-batsman Carl Wright.
Player of the tournament Sushil Nadkarni whose batting prowess had helped the USA throughout the entire tournament was not even required to show his skills in the final after man of the match Cush's swashbuckling display with the bat. Nadkarni struck a total of 216 runs in the event including a stunning 84 not out against Tanzania in the side's opening win of the tournament.
ICC Global Development Manager Matthew Kennedy said, "This has been a fantastic Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 4 and I wish to commend all the teams who have competed and co-operated so well after adverse weather conditions affected the beginning of the tournament. ICC would especially like to acknowledge the Federazione Cricket Italiana for all their hard work in successfully hosting their first ICC global event.
"It's fantastic to see a bit of a shake-up in the world one-day rankings after this tournament - with five of the six countries changing placings - and hearty congratulations must go to the USA and Italy on securing progression to WCL Division 3 in January 2011 and on obtaining global ranking positions 25 and 26 respectively.
"The cricketing abilities on display from all the nations throughout the week have been very impressive and the development of the great game clearly continues to flourish at all levels in and across all ICC Members".
Federazione Cricket Italiana President Simone Gambino commented, "It has been a great honour to host the six teams of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 4 tournament here in Bologna. This fantastic week of cricket has been crowned for me personally with the qualification of Italy into Division 3 in Hong Kong in January - it has been a marvellous week".
Meanwhile Nepal secured third place after defeating Tanzania by 10 wickets in a low scoring game.
The match was a chance for the Nepalese to put right the side's defeat to the Africans in the group stages of the tournament, which they did so in great style.
Tanzania struggled with the bat and was bowled out for just 73 runs in 39.3 overs with Issa Kikasi top-scoring with 32 runs. Nepal's legbreak bowler, Shakti Gauchan, was the pick of the attack, the 26-year-old took full advantage of the conditions to claim 3-10.
In reply the Hamisi Abdallah's bowlers had nothing that the Nepal openers of Mahesh Chhetri and Anil Mandal couldn't handle and the pair knocked off the target in just 12.3 overs, Mandal top scoring with 47.
Cayman Islands rounded off a disappointing week on a high finishing fifth in the tournament after it defeated Argentina by seven wickets.
Batting first, Argentina made 182-9 in its allotted overs, with Carlos Gibson striking 45 before retiring hurt and Tomas Francis adding 23 runs.
Cayman Islands Conroy Wright was once again in good form, this time taking 2-19 and completing the tournament with 10 wickets in six matches.
In reply, Cayman Islands' Ramon Sealy once again added runs to the board, striking a 57-ball 60 before departing to the bowling of Diego Lord.
It was then up to Ryan Bovell (42 not out) and captain Saheed Mohamed (33 not out) to grind out the total and bring to a close a miserable week for Argentina who managed no victories in the entire tournament.
Score summaries (rankings play-off):
At Pianoro: Italy 185-9, 50 overs (Petricola 42, Munasinghe 24, Roshendra Abeywickrama 24 not out; Gordon 4-35)
USA 188-2, 21.4 overs (Cush 101, Baker 40, Massiah 28 not out)
USA won by eight wickets
At Medicina: Tanzania 73 all out, 39.3 overs (Kikasi 32; Gauchan 3-10, B Regmi 2-15, Bhattarai 2-8)
Nepal 74-0, in 12.3 overs (Chhetri 24 not out, Mandal 47 not out)
Nepal won by 10 wickets
At Bologna: Argentina 182-9, 50 overs (Gibson 45; Wright 2-19)
Cayman Islands 186-3, 29.3 overs (Sealy 60, Bovell 42 not out, Mohamed 33 not out)
Cayman Islands won by seven wickets
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