Kuwait, Winners of Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 7 2011

Kuwait won Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 7, beating Nigeria in the Final by 72 runs after being put in. “I don’t think we came into this tournament in Botswana as favourites. We played each game as it came and it worked out well for us as we came out victorious again,” said Kuwait’s captain Hisham Mirza.

Kuwait fought off cold, wind, rain, alien astroturf wickets, their own demons and some feisty opposition to triumph. Germany beat Kuwait by 11 runs in the round-robin stage and had it not been for some enterprising lower-order batting, in advancing Kuwait from 129 for 6 at the start of the 39th over to 219, the Final could have been much closer.

Hisham Mirza
“I don’t think I can single out one player that performed for me as we are very much a team effort. However, I will mention my fast bowlers, they’ve been the best in Division 7 and Division 8 in my opinion. They are quick, they are good but we’re in this as a team,” says Kuwait’s ebullient captain. Left-arm pace bowler Mohammad Murad with 15 wickets at 10.26 over five matches was Player of the Tournament, ably supported by Saad Khalid with 11 at 11.63. Hisham Mirza, Sibtain Raza and Irfan Bhatti (60 in the Final) made important runs too and Kuwait, after years of being the nearly men, may just be setting themselves up for some sustained tournament-winning performances.

Murad strikes

Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 6 loomsnext in Malaysia in the third week of September, where tough opposition lies in wait in the home side, Fiji, Guernsey, Jersey along with Nigeria. To be played on the lushest of turf, something Kuwait’s batsmen haven’t taken that well to in the past. “I don’t think Malaysia will be that easy – we’ve made a few mistakes during this tournament and the higher the division the harder it gets for us as a team. We need to make sure we’re well prepared for the event and plug the loopholes in the team and hopefully we’ll go there and even better side than we were here in Botswana,” says Hisham.

Pictures by ICC/Ian Jacobs

Final, Sunday May 7, 2011

Kuwait v Nigeria at Botswana Cricket Association Oval 1
Nigeria won the toss and elected to field
Kuwait: 219 for 9 off 50 overs (I.Bhatti 60; O.Bejide 4-20)
Nigeria: 142 all out off 36.5 overs (R.Gill 45; M.Murad 4-20)
Man of the Match: Mohammad Murad (Kuwait)

Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 7
Kuwait Country Profile

Filed May 9th, 2011