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Stevens bags four as Jersey get off to winning start

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Star allrounder Ben Stevens once again came to the fore for Jersey, striking the key blow to dismiss his opposite number Patrick Matautaava early in the Vanuatu innings before taking three more wickets to wipe out the tail in Jersey’s seven-wicket win at the UKM-YSD Oval in Bangi.

Having defeated Vanuatu in their three prior encounters at 2016 and 2017 Division Five, Jersey took advantage of a crucial toss on a dusty pitch at a ground that only opened at the start of the year and was being used for the very first time as an international tournament venue. Left-arm swing bowler Cornelis Bodenstein struck the first two blows inside the Powerplay before Stevens was brought on in the 11th over. He dismissed Matautaava with his third ball, spinning one past a forward prod to clip off stump and make it 48 for 3.

Once the new ball went soft, scoring became increasingly difficult for Vanuatu. Player-coach Shane Deitz, making his international debut for his adopted country ten years after his final first-class match for South Australia, produced a dogged effort to anchor much of the innings and top-scored with 36 off 73 balls.

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But Jersey captain Charles Perchard dislodged him off the last ball before the second drinks break, brilliantly caught behind off an attempted cut by Jake Dunford standing up to the stumps for the medium-pacer. When play resumed, Stevens returned to the attack and needed just two overs to take the final three wickets.

Offspinner Jelany Chilia sparked a brief early wobble in Jersey’s chase, taking three wickets after coming on in the sixth over. But Nat Watkins ground his way to an unbeaten 36 off 84 balls and found support from Nick Ferraby, who swept very effectively to pick up four boundaries in a 28 not out off 47 balls. The pair generated an unbroken 50-run stand to take Jersey home with 18.5 overs to spare.

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