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A dramatic innings by Botswana denied the Fiji national cricket side from qualifying to division 6 at the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 7 Tournament in Botswana.
Fiji had won the toss and elected to bowl first restricting Botswana side to score 198/10 in 47.2 overs.
However Botswana bowlers were on target managing to bowl Fiji out for 176/10 in 48.4 overs beating Fiji by 22 runs.
Inoke Lesuma, Cricket Fiji Acting Chief Executive Officer, was unhappy with the national team’s loss and added the team had needed a win or a draw in order to qualify for Division 6.
“I am very disappointed as we lost to a lower ranked team,” Lesuma said.
“Botswana lost three matches and drew one but I guess they decided to put on a show for their home crowd.”
Lesuma added Fiji’s ranking is expected to drop, however the confirmation would be made by the International Cricket Council when they released an updated team ranking.
Despite the loss, Lesuma said Cricket Fiji needed to take positives from the team’s outing in Botswana.
“Disappointment in one sense, happy in another as the national side is getting the exposure, which is a positive side for development of the sport,” he said.Fiji had lost their chance of a top two finish as Nigeria qualified for the finals with a better points difference.
THE national cricket team will need to perform at the world cricket league tournament in order to qualify for more International Cricket Council funds, says Fiji Cricket's Jo Rika.
Rika, the high performance unit manager for Fiji cricket, was referring to the national team's outing in Botswana at the ICC World Cricket League Division 7 Tournament, which ends on Sunday.
“We need to qualify or finish as the top two to move up three places in our ranking and if we do that we acquire certain amount of funding,” he said.
“The rankings split up into categories and for each category you enter you receive a certain amount funding for it.” “Right now we’re stuck in the middle because if we lose we go down four places and were out of those categories that were in and we lose close to around 50,000 US dollars.”
Rika, who spoke to Wansolwara prior to the team's departure last week, said Fiji cricket could not afford to stay in the middle nor fall in its rankings because it largely relied on ICC funding for its operations and the development of the sport at the grassroot level.
“This is got to be the most important tournament for Cricket Fiji and for that reason we have stepped up our preparations in terms of fitness and game sense wise,” he said.
“Fiji Cricket has invested a lot of money in preparing the team and because of this it obviously tells a story on how important this tournament is because it does carry half of our funding on the line if we do not qualify,” he added.