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The ICC World Cricket League XI


Number_one_Best_Greatest_cricketThe ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCL) 2015-17 concluded last week, after more than 30 months of hard-fought action, which saw eight teams battle it out across 56 matches. The Netherlands clinched the coveted title with a game to spare, thereby regaining their ODI status and qualifying for the proposed 13-team ODI league that is likely to begin in 2020.

The top four teams, the Netherlands, Scotland, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea, will join the West Indies, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Ireland in the ten-team World Cup Qualifier to be played in Zimbabwe from March 2-25 next year. The bottom four – Kenya, the UAE, Nepal and Namibia – will join Oman and Canada in the WCL Division Two in Namibia in February, from which the top two will make it to the World Cup Qualifier.

Here is a look back at the tournament’s best performers in the form of a World Cricket League XI. Not surprisingly, it is wholly dominated by players from the top four teams.

Anshuman Rath (Hong Kong)

The 20-year-old ‘Anshy’ Rath was a revelation, finishing as the highest run-getter with a tally of 678 runs at 75.33. The talented southpaw reserved his best for the last game against Papua New Guinea at Dubai, in which he scored an unbeaten 143 - his maiden ODI hundred and a new record for the highest ODI score by a Hong Kong batsman. He hit two centuries and four fifties in all, and his outstanding performance was pivotal in Hong Kong’s third-place finish.    

Kyle Coetzer (Scotland)

Scottish captain Kyle Coetzer led from the front, accumulating 574 runs at 52.18. His three centuries were the most by any batsman, including a highest of 127 against the UAE at Edinburgh in August 2016. The brisk starts provided by him at the top went a long way in Scotland’s march towards the second position.

Calum MacLeod (Scotland)

Calum MacLeod proved to be an ideal foil for Coetzer. The Glasgow-born batsman impressed with his consistency, logging 440 runs at 55.00. The higher of his two hundreds, an amazing 154 out in a total of 278/9 against Papua New Guinea at Port Moresby in October 2017, was also his second ODI score in excess of 150.

Babar Hayat (Hong Kong)

Besides finishing as the highest run-getter in the Intercontinental Cup, Hong Kong’s big-hitting captain Babar Hayat was also the third-highest on the WCL run charts. Even though he did not score a century, his return of 543 runs at 49.36 included five fifties, the last two of which came in back-to-back ODIs against Papua New Guinea in the decisive final round.

Peter Borren (Netherlands, captain)

The captain of our World Cricket League XI is Peter Borren, whose canny leadership was instrumental in the Netherlands’ turnaround in fortunes over the past two years. He stood up with the bat as well, scoring 322 runs at 40.25, with a best of 105* against Papua New Guinea in the first round at Amstelveen in June 2015. In October 2017, he guided a tricky chase of 228 against Kenya at East London with a critical 86*, which brought his team a step closer to the title.  

Michael Rippon (Netherlands)

Cape Town-born chinaman bowler Michael Rippon played a key role in the Netherlands’ success. He snared 23 wickets at 16.08, ten more than any other bowler from his team, and the joint second-highest tally overall. His 4/67 against Hong Kong at Mong Kok in February 2017 enabled the Netherlands to pinch a high-scoring game by five runs. He also chipped in with the bat, often opening the innings and scoring 246 runs at 30.75 with three fifties.

Matthew Cross (Scotland, wicketkeeper)

Scotland’s Matthew Cross is designated to keep wickets in this side as he was the most prolific wicketkeeper in the tournament, collecting 24 dismissals (22 catches and two stumpings). He was the only keeper to take five catches in an innings, against Hong Kong at Mong Kok in January 2016. Besides, he also scored 232 runs with two fifties.   

Tanwir Afzal (Hong Kong)

Since a third pacer was required, Tanwir Afzal (17 wickets at 16.41) edges out his teammate, off-spinner Ehsan Khan (18 at 15.00), in the eleven. It did not take long for Afzal to make an impact – he took 5/17 against Namibia at Windhoek in the first round in May 2015. Six months later, he dished out a match-winning all-round show against the UAE at Dubai, first scoring 73 in 33 balls to rescue his side from 173/7 to a total of 274/8 and then capturing 3/31.  

Norman Vanua (Papua New Guinea)

Medium pacer Norman Vanua, whose timely strikes gave Papua New Guinea a great impetus on many an occasion, was the joint second-highest wicket taker, with 23 wickets at 21.21. His best bowling figures of 3/38 came against Namibia at Port Moresby in October 2016, which paved the way for a six-wicket win for the hosts.

Alasdair Evans (Scotland)

Standing tall at 6’5, Alasdair Evans spearheaded the ever-improving Scottish pace bowling attack, finishing as the joint highest wicket taker with 24 scalps at 18.54. His miserly 3/18 against Nepal in July 2015 gave an indication of what was to follow, and he went on to better this return by taking 4/41 on two separate occasions.

Nadeem Ahmed (Hong Kong)

Hong Kong’s Pakistan-born left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed topped the wickets table along with Evans, with his 24 wickets coming at just 15.25 apiece, and at an economy rate of 3.96 to boot. He took four wickets in an innings twice - 4/27 against Namibia in a losing cause at Windhoek in May 2015, and a match-winning 4/26 against Scotland in the inaugural ODI to be played on Hong Kong soil, at Mong Kok in January 2016.


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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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