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So close… Saints lose to champions by a single run

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Rwanda 114 runs – St Helena 113

If you balanced runs against wickets taken, then St Helena had the best of a tantalising game against defending champions Rwanda. But only the runs count, and the Saints were one short.

The final score in South Africa this afternoon: Rwanda 114 for the loss of nine wickets; St Helena 113 for the loss of six.

The Saints had gone into the fourth day of the contest at third place in the table, behind Zambia and the Seychelles, with six points from three wins. Their tally of runs was also third highest, and only the Zambians had had fewer runs scored against them.

After today, the rankings will look a little different, but this has still been a superb international debut.

The islanders’ afternoon game was the second to produce an agonisingly close result – after level-pegging with the Seychelles at 128 runs, but then losing the game in a deciding “super over”.

Rwanda’s coach had told his players to go full-on to get the runs, even if it meant dropping a wicket or two, and they clearly took him at his word.

The irony was that this should have been the tougher of St Helena’s two matches in the fourth day of the Pepsi ICC Africa division 3 tournament in South Africa – and yet it was the tighter of the two.

Here’s the report from ICC reporter Zuraida Badat:

On the main oval of Sahara Park Willowmoore, Rwanda decided to bat after winning the toss against St Helena.

Rwanda scored 114 runs for the loss of nine wickets in 20 overs, with A Kayitera scoring 53 runs. On the bowling side, St Helena’s G Johnson took three wickets for 15 runs.

St Helena scored 113 for the loss of six wickets, making the Rwandans winners by one run. D Richards scored 38 runs, and taking wickets for Rwanda, S Vardhineni took 2 for 13.

In other matches, Zambia beat Gambia by 98 runs (185 for seven against 87 all-out), and the Moroccans – after beating the Saints by 40 runs in the morning – lost to Cameroon by eight wickets.

And the Seychelles knocked up the biggest win of the day: a ten-wicket victory over Mali – meaning the victors did not drop a single wicket.

The Seychelles and Zambia meet each other tomorrow to decide the tournament winner.

Saints fifth on table after four days’ play (unofficial rankings)

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