Cricket: ICC T20 World Cup-Division three runners-up Seychelles get ready for division two qualifiers


The Seychelles team who played in the division qualifiers of the ICC T20 World Cup

Speaking to Sports Nation, assistant coach Patrick Thomas the players have been given some time off after their exploit in South Africa’

“Training will resume next week in preparation for the division two playoffs. We are looking forward to do well and I believe we have a good chance of taking one of the top two places to progress to the division one playoffs,” said Thomas.

The former player added that the present squad will be reinforced with new players and junior cricketers could also be included so that they gain international exposure. He noted that losing twice to Zambia has made them understand the level of the game in division one.

“Zambia normally plays in the division one, but were demoted to division three after their financial books were not in order,” said Thomas who added that the local cricketers are looking forward to getting a full-size playing field here which will help in improving their standard of play.

Captained by Kaushal Patel, the Seychelles team played eight matches in five days at the Willowmoore Park Ground in South Africa, winning six.

Despite losing the final to Zambia, the Seychelles team got some good press internationally as they were not expected to do this well against more experienced opponents and qualify for the next stage of the World Cup qualifiers.

On the opening day, they beat the highly fancied Gambia by 32 runs to start their amazing run to the final. In their second match played the same day, the team played on a wet wicket and were bowled out for a lowly 71 runs against Cameroon, before some brilliant bowling and fielding restricted Cameroon to 62 all out in the final over. Seychelles thus won by the match by 9 runs.

After suffering a 77-run loss to favourites Zambia in their third game with Sohan Halpe taking three wickets, the Seychelles team bounced back in the game-of-the-tournament by beating St Helena in a super over after the match had finished in a tie. Arvind Bhuva smashed a huge six to win the game which witnessed some fierce-paced bowling by Seychelles main striker Dharma Shanmugam. Bhuva finished with 45 runs off 38 balls.

Seychelles registered another nail-biting win against Morocco in the last over of the match.

Morocco were dismissed for 101 runs, Mukesh Vadodaraya the main wicket taker with 4. Seychelles’ chase started badly with wickets falling at regular intervals before Dharma was able to strike a six in the last over when 9 runs were needed. Top scorer for Seychelles was Tim Horpinitch with 42 as Seychelles won by 3 runs.

In their next match, Seychelles came up against last year’s division three champions Rwanda who beat them in the final.  The players of coach Ramesh went out on the field with the aim of avenging the defeat and they scored 154 with Horpinitch again top scoring with 59 not out. They were able to restrict Rwanda to 124 for a 30-run win. Halpe chipped in with 2 wickets with his fast leg spin. 

Needing a win to reach the final, the Seychelles team impressed with a resounding 10-wicket victory over Mali as Varsani and Dharma took 2 wickets each, while opening batsmen Janaka Ratnayake and Tim Horpinitch knocked over the required 77 runs in 9 overs, finishing with 44 and 28 not out respectively.

Already qualified for the division two playoffs, the Seychelles team were outclassed by Zambia in the final. Seychelles were eventually all out for 101, Horpinitch again impressing with a top score of 29 before Zambia were able to chase the score in the 16th over for the loss of 5 wickets.

It was a brilliant team effort by the Seychelles team as they move on to the next phase in their World Cup qualifying.