Group A of the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League kicked off on Monday in Kuala Lumpur. This is the first of three 15-game round-robin tournaments to be played across the next two years.
The team that tops Group A after all three tournaments will progress to the 2022 CWC Qualifier Playoff along with the winner of Group B and the bottom four teams from the CWC League 2.
The top two teams from the Playoff will advance to the World Cup Qualifier in 2022, a 10-team tournament that mirrors the Qualifier played in 2018. The top two teams from the Qualifier will progress to Cricket’s showpiece event in 2023.
Canada 408 for 7 (Dhaliwal 140, Ravinderpal 94, Thomas 62, Fetri 3-82) beat Malaysia 202 (Ahmed Faiz 41, Virandeep 35, Kumar 3-35, Eranga 2-19) by 206 runs
It’s common for batsmen from associate nations to struggle against spin. Try telling that to Navneet Dhaliwal who put on a master class in how to play spin, plundering a 94-ball 140 as he led Canada to a thumping 206-run win over hosts Malaysia.
Throughout his belligerent knock, the Canadian skipper came down the track to the spinners, depositing balls over their heads and over the cover region for some of the biggest hits of the tournament. He was most harsh on Norwira Zazmie, who he hit for 5 sixes in a row before holing out to long off the sixth ball of the over. He was ably supported by Rodrigo Thomas, who found some form after a disappointing Americas Regional Finals tournament.
Nitish Kumar and the powerful Ravinderpal Singh continued the carnage with the latter plundering 9 sixes. He narrowly missed out a century when he skied the final ball of the innings to backward point. The damage, however, was done as Malaysia walked off the field with their heads bowed.
Despite getting off to a promising start by scoring 54 in the first ten overs of their chase, it was always going to be a tall order for the men in yellow, who were squeezed by the off-spinning duo of Nikhil Dutta and Nitish Kumar as soon as the fielding restrictions were eased.
After Malaysian skipper Ahmed Faiz pulled a rare Nitish Kumar long hop to Saad Bin Zafar at mid-wicket in the 20th over, the chase petered out to its inevitable conclusion.
Malaysia had suffered their largest defeat in terms of runs since their 221-run loss to Zimbabwe at the 1998 Commonwealth games. Canada, on the other hand, recorded their highest ever List A total as they boosted an already impressive net run rate on the way to another two points.
Singapore 249 for 7 (Tim David 97, Chnadramohan 80, Delawar Khan 3-49) beat Denmark 213 (Anique Uddin 43, Aryaman 6-46, Param 3-30) by 206 runs
Tim David and Surendran Chandramohan starred once again—this time in a Singapore victory—as the South-east Asian nation recovered from their dramatic collapse to Qatar two days ago.
However, things did not start well for the Singaporeans as Rezza Gaznavi walked out for the toss instead of regular skipper Amjad Mahboob, who had to fly back to Singapore for a family member’s funeral.
Things went from bad to worse, when a mix up between Rohan Rangarajan and Arjun Mutreja resulted in the former being run out for a duck off the second legal delivery of the match. Mutreja would also run himself out off the last ball of the 25th over, hesitating as he returned for a second run.
However, at 83-2 the platform was set for another David-Chandramohan partnership as the pair put on 91 for the third wicket. The Western-Australian all rounder led the death-overs charge after Chandramohan found the cover fieldsman failing to execute his patented off-side slap. Singapore ended up with 249; a total that could have been even higher without Delawar Khan’s 3 wickets at the death.
In reply, Denmark benefitted from more Singaporean sloppiness, most notably during Rangarajan’s nightmare over. The part-time off spinner drifted down leg-side twice before bowling a head-high full-toss that was dispatched for four and overcompensating with a short ball that got stuck in his hand and raced down to the boundary rope for more extras.
However, leggie Anantha Krishna put the brakes on for the second game in a row along with Navin Param, who broke the back of Denmark’s chase with an incisive spell of 3-30.
Denmark was left with too much to do off the last 10 overs as brisk teenager Aryaman Uchil returned to clean up the lower order, finishing with figures of 6-46.
Denmark 220 for 7 (Klokker 74*, Zameer Khan 46, Matautaava 3-35) beat Vanuatu 72 (Deitz 29*, Jojo 4-29, Delawar 3-15) by 148 runs
Freddie Klokker’s well-paced unbeaten 74 helped Denmark post a respectable total before Jino Jojo produced yet another incisive bowling spell to break the back of Vanuatu’s chase.
The minnows began well, following up a spirited bowling effort against Canada with another impressive display by bowling tight lines that kept the Danes in check. Klokker was an exception to this rule as his strike rate hovered around 80 for most of his innings before he unleashed a series of paddle scoops to the fine leg boundary.
Denmark looked good for a score between 230 and 240 before Patrick Matautaava returned to close out the innings picking up 3 wickets in his final two overs without conceding a boundary.
Vanuatu’s chase never got off the ground as Jino Jojo continued his fine form, bowling back of a length on a fourth stump line, jagging the ball in and out at will. Shane Deitz was the only batsman to offer any sort of resistance as the Pacific Islanders struggled to deal with the skiddy Danish bowlers on a pitch that kept low.
Delawar Khan returned to clean up the tail, helping the Danes stay relevant in the tournament with a crucial two points.
Qatar 154 for 7 (Rizlan 44*, Dharmang Patel 37*, Pavandeep 2-14, Anwar Rahman 2-20) beat Malaysia 153 for 7 (Nazril Rahman 52*, Virandeep 25, Khurram Shahzad 2-16, Musawar Shah 2-20) by 3 wickets
An unbeaten 8th wicket stand of 56 between Mohammad Rizlan and Dharmang Patel propelled Qatar over the line in a tense chase at the Selangor Turf Club.
Choosing to bat first after winning the toss, Malaysia’s top order crumbled for the second time in three games, leaving their lower order to pick up the pieces. Suharril Fetri labored to 24 off 86 in an effort to rebuild the innings as Qatar’s spinners, led by Khurram Shahzad, choked them men in black and yellow.
At the end of 34 overs, Malaysia were 67-6. Fortunately for both Malaysia and neutral spectators, Nazril Rahman gave Malaysia’s score some respectability with a rapid unbeaten 52 off 57.
Chasing a shade above 3 an over turned out to be a huge challenge for Qatar, who were reduced to 50-6 by Malaysia’s spinners. Pavandeep Singh stood up once again, bowling a frugal and incisive spell. He was helped by some poor running from Qalandar Khan—who turned for a second run that clearly wasn’t there—and Anwar Rahman who benefitted from the variable bounce on offer to get Khurram Shahzad caught at silly point.
There was another twist in the tail when Gayan Munaweera stitched together a partnership with the composed Mohammad Rizlan. However, Nazril Rahman did for Munaweera with a peach that caught his outside edge and was gobbled up by Shafiq Sharif.
With 44 required off the last 10 overs, it was anyone’s game. However, Malaysia’s sloppy fielding cost them as Virandeep didn’t make an attempt at a catch in the deep and Sharif fumbled a run out opportunity.
Dharmang Patel and Rizlan were the heroes as Qatar won their second close game in a row.