Brazil remain unbeaten in victorious Division 3 campaign

Wed, Oct 14, 2009 10:08 AM

Brazil remain unbeaten in victorious Division 3 campaign
New Division 3 champions are pushed hard by ever improving Peru in a 17-run victory to register three wins out of three

Belize snatch second place from hosts Chile in an exciting comeback triumph by two wickets

On a beautiful sunny day in Santiago, Chile, the ICC Americas Division 3 Championship ended on a high note as two absorbing and entertaining matches were played out in front of a beautiful backdrop of the snow-capped Andes mountains.

With Brazil already crowned as Division 3 champions, major interest focused on the second place shootout between hosts Chile and Belize. The two pre-tournament top seeds, having been upstaged by outsiders Brazil, were both determined to end the event on a high note and claim the silver medal position.

Having won the toss and electing to bat, the Chilean top-order clicked into gear and dominated the early stages of the contest. Promising young all-rounder Tristan Bradbrook batted sublimely for his 48, off 57 balls, with four fours and two sixes, until lazily pushing a catch to cover. Captain Simon Shalders looked set for another big innings until he was bowled by opposite number Dirk Sutherland for 59, scored off 62 balls, including nine fours, and Guy Hooper was his customary solid self in compiling a 71-ball innings of 40, with three fours.

At 176-2 in the 39th over, Chile was strongly set to push on beyond the 250 mark. But right-arm seamer Dirk Sutherland had other ideas, and leading from the front bowled intelligently to end with 5-32 in nine overs, and Chile was perhaps ultimately a little disappointed to end its 50 overs at 223-9. Kenroy Roca, the seven-wicket hero of the previous day, again bowled well to take 2-36 off his nine overs.

Although Belize batted brightly, and stayed up with the required run rate, its chase was punctuated with falling wickets, and after 40 overs, it had its back to the wall at 157-8 after 40 overs. Only opener Robert Casasola provided any resistance with a fine innings of 60, off 120 balls, with six fours and two sixes.

All the Chilean bowlers chipped in, with Bradbrook possibly the pick of the bunch, taking 2-24 in 8,3 overs, while off-spinner Pablo Mejias was again his usual consistent self, taking 2-37 in 10 overs.

Once again, however, the Belize skipper Dirk Sutherland provided the stubborn resistance to turn the game around, and together with able support from Dorian Gabb, an electric ninth-wicket partnership of 67 in only seven overs turned the game around completely for Belize to grab a two-wicket win by reaching 224-8 in 46.3 overs.

Man of the match Sutherland ended unbeaten on 39, scored off only 24 balls, including three fours and two sixes, while Gabb was not out on 24, off 20 balls, with three fours. Belize thus finished in second place, while hosts Chile had to be content with third.

Although already confirmed as Division 3 winners after its superb triumph against Chile yesterday, Brazil was determined to end the tournament unbeaten as true champions, and not to claim the title on the basis of its head-to-head win the previous day.

Batting first and after winning the toss, Brazil was again indebted to Greigor Caisley and skipper Matt Featherstone for a solid start, putting on 70 runs for the second wicket. After Caisley's departure for 48, scored off 68 balls, with four fours and a six, all-rounder Rubabul Islam joined Featherstone to continue their batting dominance in a third-wicket partnership of 107.

Featherstone was eventually brilliantly caught on the boundary by veteran John Bell for a man of the match innings of 77, including six fours and two sixes, while Islam made 39, off 66 balls, with six fours. Deodat Randolph added a bright undefeated 38 off only 36 balls, with three fours, and Brazil eventually posted 250-6 in its 50 overs.

Off-spinner Tony Sanford continued his good bowling form of the tournament, by taking 2-51 in his 10 overs, while captain Miles Buesst bowled his seamers with economic effect to finish with 1-27 in nine overs.

Peru immediately showed its customary fighting qualities as Mike Soulsby and Buesst compiled a 99-run second-wicket partnership to set the stage for a Peruvian run chase. Buesst made 36 off 62 balls, with three fours and a six, while Soulsby completed a deserved half-century, making 57 in 109 balls with eight fours.

With Chris Abbott chipping in with 24, off 36 balls with a four, and Nadeem Ahmed Ansari smashing 29 in only 14 balls, including four fours and one huge six, the game was definitely going down to the wire.

But the Brazilian bowlers and fielders kept their heads in a tight finish, and eventually pressured the lower-order Peruvian batting into submission and a 17-run victory as Peru ended its 50 overs on 233-9. This gave Brazil a second trophy in fact, as it claimed the Copa Amistad (Friendship Cup) in this head-to head clash between the two countries.

Vince Bastick's gentle left-arm medium returned four wickets, for 59 runs in 8.4 overs, while Islam took 2-40 in 10 overs, and off-spinner Daniel Miziara bowled excellently to finish with 2-45 in nine overs.

An unsung hero of the triumphant Brazil team was perhaps Daniel Miziara, a 28-year-old Brazilian who only picked up the game a few years ago through the Brazil Cricket Association development program. Batting at number eleven on the first day against Belize, his heroics saw his team to a crucial one-wicket victory, while his bowling today against Peru, bowling all of nine overs and taking 2-45 during a critical period of the game, show just how much potential there is.

Thus Brazilian celebrated its Division 3 triumph in perfect fashion, and the team that entered the four-team event as fourth seeds secured a deserved division title against the odds by finishing the event unbeaten.

The Chilean Cricket Association did a wonderful job as hosts, and Chile is a country that will undoubtedly host many more international cricket events in the future. A memorable tournament thus draws to a close, and everyone will surely now be following Brazil's progress at next year's Americas Division 2 event with great interest.

Brief scores:

At Craighouse (B Field):
Brazil 250-6, 50 overs (Matt Featherstone 77, Greigor Caisley 48, Rubabul Islam 39, Deodat Randolph 38 not out; Tony Sanford 2-51)
Peru 233-9, 50 overs (Mike Soulsby 57, Miles Buesst 36, Nadeem Ahmed Ansari 29, Chris Abbott 24; Vincent Bastick 4-59, Rubabul Islam 2-40, Daniel Miziara 2-45)

Brazil won by 17 runs

At Craighouse (A Field):
Chile 223-9, 50 overs (Simon Shalders 59, Tristan Bradbrook 48, Guy Hooper 40; Dirk Sutherland 5-32, Kenroy Roca 2-36)
Belize 224-8, 46.3 overs (Robert Casasola 60, Dirk Sutherland 39 not out, Dorian Gabb 24 not out; Tristan Bradbrook 2-24, Pablo Mejias 2-37)

Belize won by 2 wickets

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