The 2017 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division Five tournament will take place in Benoni, South Africa from the 3rd of September through to the 9th of September 2017. It is part of the qualification cycle for the 2023 Cricket World Cup, however teams in Division Five will be looking to be promoted Division Four by finishing in the top two positions.
The tournament consists of two groups of four teams who will play against all teams in their group with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the semi finals. The winners of the semi finals will be promoted to Division Four and will play off for the trophy. On the other hand the losers of the semi final will play off for 3rd place with the winner retaining their place in Division Five while the remaining teams will need to requalify through their ICC regional pathways.
ICC WCL Division Five Groups
Vanuatu qualified by winning the 2017 ICC World Cricket League Qualifier – East Asia-Pacific they have been grouped with tournament favourites Jersey, with European qualifier, Germany, and African qualifier, Ghana. The other teams in the competition are the Americas qualifiers, the Cayman Islands, rivals Guernsey (qualified through previous Division Five), Italy (relegated from Division 4), and Asian qualifier, Qatar.
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From the Coaches Box
Vanuatu Coach, Shane Deitz, had this to say about the upcoming tournament.
“There are with eight strong sides all looking to finish in the top two to go to division 4, we came fourth last year and we have learnt a lot from that experience and from our qualifying tournament in February where we played some great cricket. The team is maturing and we now have 14 players who are all capable of being match winners on their day.
Experienced player Wolford Kalworai is available for selection again and comes in for Gilmour Kaltongga and Kalo Shem has been selected for his first tour to replace Apo Stephen who has been left out due to not being able to commit to the team culture and behaviours we expect.
Kalo really deserves this opportunity through a lot of hard work over the last two years and stronger performances at club level.
A few players who have been on a number of tours now like Callum, Ronald and Josh I expect them to step up their performances and take more leadership on and off the field to assist our consistent performing senior group.
We also have two of our under 19 boys in the side who will be on their second tour and have stepped up to the standard of the national team extremely well.”
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Jersey enter the tournament as favourites and the highest ranked team in the competition. They won the tournament as hosts in 2016 but will be tested in unfamiliar South African conditions. The team boasts some quality players including England 12th man Jonty Jenner. It is certainly their tournament to lose but after a poor showing against Kent’s 2nd XI the Channel Islanders may not be as confident as they could be.
Italy, like Jersey, have come down from Division Four, but have a long history of cricket and have played cricket at a high level having been in recent World T20 qualifiers. But as time has gone on Italy have found themselves on the gradual slide down the World Cricket League. Still a quality team with a very experienced line up they will certainly be contenders for promotion.
Guernsey, defeated Vanuatu twice in the previous edition, however the first occasion was decided by Duckworth/Lewis due to rain when Vanuatu looked to have an edge over their opponent and the second was in the 3rd place play off which Guernsey ran out victors by just 19 runs. Vanuatu will be looking to redeem themselves and get revenge in South Africa.
Qatar, are something of an unknown quantity. Shane Booth’s ranking system has always rated them quite highly and they have had some success in Asia’s regional structures, without ever qualifying for the World Cricket League. They somehow defeated favourites, Saudi Arabia, in the Asian qualifier and will be a tough team to beat in South Africa. Left Arm Tweaker, Mohammad Nadeem, carried the team in the Asian qualifier with a staggering 20 wickets and will look to do so again in South Africa.
Germany, have pulled themselves out of European obscurity after falling out of the World Cricket League in 2013 partly at the hand of Vanuatu in Botswana. The recent influx of immigrants from Asia has improved their standard of cricket and has made them a genuine contender for the competition in South Africa. Mudassar Muhammad struck two hundreds and a fifty to lead Germany to the European title while also claiming 9 wickets in the tournament. He will be a player to watch out for.
Ghana overshot more fancied opponents, Tanzania, Nigeria and Botswana to claim the African Qualifier on the back of some terrific bowling performances by left arm spinner Vincent Ateak. Vanuatu are no stranger to Ghana having defeated them in 2012 and 2013 including the final of the Division Eight competition. The Ghanans still have a lot to prove and will have their work cut out for them against some quality opposition.
The Cayman Islands were undefeated in their playoff series against Argentina and will reenter the World Cricket League after falling from Division Six in 2015. Vanuatu also played a part in their demise defeating the Islanders in the group stage of the competition. The Caymans will be considered underdogs in this competition and will need something special to upset their opponents.
Vanuatu have made two changes to the undefeated side that took out the East Asia-Pacific Qualifier earlier this year. Experienced bat Wolford Kalworai comes in after missing selection earlier in the year. Alongside Kalworai is Kalo Shem who has been a solid performer for the North Efate Bushpigs for many years in the Vanuatu domestic competition. Apo Stephen and Gilmour Kaltongga are the two players to make way. Vanuatu have a balanced unit with plenty of spin and pace options and will be on a high after convincingly winning their two match series against Tatts Cricket Club and will be hoping to do the same in South Africa.
Vanuatu superstar, Patrick Matautaava, has announced that this will be his last tour for Vanuatu as he seeks to provide more income for his growing family. However Patrick looks to be ready to go out with a bang having been in ominous form this year in Vanuatu’s domestic competitions. The highlight being a scarcely believable 141 off just 46 balls with 10 fours and 14 sixes in the Independence Cup final. He followed this up with an unbeaten 78 against Tatts CC and 4-25 in a man of the match performance. If he can replicate this form in South Africa Vanuatu are certainly in with a chance.
Coach: Shane Deitz
Andrew Mansale (Captain)
Jonathon Dunn (Vice Captain)