Irish Cricket Archives masthead
Ireland: International Tournaments
2007 World Cricket League Division 1
Nairobi, Kenya

Planned in part as preparation for the 2007 World Cup, the inaugural World Cricket League tournament featured the six sides which had qualified for that event. They arrived with very different levels of preparation: the Kenyans were on home ground, and had warmed up with a five-match ODI series against Scotland in Mombasa and a triangular tournament with the Scots and Canada. The Scots, like the Dutch and the Canadians, also acclimatised with matches against local opposition once they reached Nairobi. Bermuda, on the other hand, arrived shortly before the start, while Ireland prepared at sea level in Port Elizabeth.

Kenya v Bermuda: Janeiro Tucker is lbw to Kenyan spinner Hiren Varaiya Kenya v Bermuda: Janeiro Tucker is lbw to Kenyan spinner Hiren Varaiya (©CricketEurope)

Losing just once in the round robin phase, Kenya were untroubled in reaching the final. They needed only 18.1 overs to overhaul Bermuda's 133 in their opening game, and although they took longer to chase down the Netherlands' 131, their seven-wicket victory confirmed that they were one of the stronger challengers for the title. Scotland, too, took two out of two, beating Ireland off the final delivery of a fiercely-contested game and Canada by just 7 runs; if Kenya were cruising, the Scots were doing it the hard way. The Netherlands, who opened with a win over Canada before losing to the Kenyans, and Ireland, who came back from their defeat by Scotland to secure an almost equally narrow victory over Bermuda.

Ireland's sequence of close finishes continued in the third round, the Irish losing in the final over to Kenya despite a fourth-wicket stand of 227 between William Porterfield - who posted his second century in successive games with 104 not out - and Kevin O'Brien (142). Scotland, too, squeezed home, in a rain-affected match in which the Dutch, down and out at one stage, recovered to the point of needing four to win off the final over with three wickets in hand, and managed to lose by 2 runs. Canada secured their first win of the tournament, beating Bermuda by 56 runs in another rain-shortened game.

Scotland v Netherlands: Dougie Brown just makes his ground Scotland's Dougie Brown just makes his ground against The Netherlands (©Ian Jacobs)

Scotland now moved into pole position by ending the hosts' unbeaten run: Fraser Watts and Majid Haq opened with a century stand and the Scots finished on 254 for eight before dismissing Kenya for 177. The home side's defeat opened a window of opportunity for Canada and the Netherlands, who were just one win behind Kenya after beating Ireland and Bermuda respectively. Canadian skipper Ash Bagai replied to Eoin Morgan's 115 for Ireland with his second century of the tournament to see his side home by six wickets, while Ryan ten Doeschate's unbeaten 109 ensured an eight-wicket victory for the Netherlands over the winless Bermudians.

But Kenya ended any such thoughts by crushing Canada in their final round-robin match, making 250 for nine and then bowling their opponents out for 92 in jut 14.5 over as the Canadians tried unsuccessfully to race to a win fast enough to edge ahead on net run rate. The Dutch did their part by beating Ireland in yet another tight finish, the margin just seven runs, but even had Kenya lost to Canada the closeness of that game meant that they would not have improved their run rate. The shock of the day came at Ruaraka, where Bermuda gained their first points by beating Scotland by five wickets with an over to spare.

Ireland's Kevin O'Brien is stumped against Canada Ireland's Kevin O'Brien is stumped against Canada (©CricketEurope)

That result might have been a sign that the Scots were close to breaking point after a long and arduous tour, for after electing to bat first in the final they were dismissed by the hosts for just 155. David Obuya led Kenya' reply with 93, and by the time he was dismissed only 11 were required for victory. The Kenyan pace attack of Thomas Odoyo, Peter Ongondo (the leading wicket-taker with 15) and Lameck Onyango had given the home side the edge throughout the tournament, backed up by the spin of Hiren Varaiya, Jimmy Kamande and skipper Steve Tikolo.

It was Canada's Ash Bagai, however, who won the Player of the Tournament award for his 345 runs at 86.25, with William Porterfield (Ireland) not far behind him with 332 at 76.32; each had hit two centuries. Three other batsmen, David Obuya of Kenya and the Irish pair of Kevin O'Brien and Eoin Morgan, finished with more than 250 runs, while the principal wicket-takers after Ongondo were Ryan ten Doeschate of the Netherlands and Andre Botha of Ireland, each with 13.

Kenya celebrate their victory over Scotland in the Final Kenya celebrate their victory over Scotland in the Final (©CricketEurope)