Match reports: CWC Challenge League A, Days 7 & 8

Singapore slipped past Canada to join them at the top of the table and Vanuatu set a world record when they defended 65 against the hosts

Vanuatu players celebrates after dismissing Mohd Nazril Abdul Rahman of Malaysia

Canada 302 for 8 (Wijeyeratne 84, Ravinderpal 43, Hald 2-60, Henriksen 1-27) beat Denmark 172 (Zameer 60, Hamid 52, Dutta 3-38, Saad Bin Zafar 3-28) by 48 runs (DLS Method) 

Saad Bin Zafar starred with a late-order cameo and yet another frugal spell as Canada overcame Denmark to maintain their unbeaten run atop the Challenge League table.

The big news at the toss was skipper Navneet Dhaliwal’s absence due to a fever with Abraash Khan coming in to open in his place. The youngster made his opportunity count demonstrating good range off both the front foot and back foot on his way to 42. He was eventually dismissed playing on to an Oliver Hald delivery from around the wicket.

Srimantha Wijeyeratne followed up his century against Qatar with a well-paced 84 although numerous misfields from the Danes helped him get out of scoreless 10-ball rut at the start of his innings.

Srimantha Wijeyeratne of Canada cuts during his 84 (ICC)

When he departed in the 41st over with Ravinderpal Singh selling him down the river, it looked like Denmark would restrict the Canadians to around 280.

Despite this, the belligerent right-hander chipped in with 43 quick runs before Saad Bin Zafar creamed an unbeaten 34 off 14 to propel Canada past 300.

Romesh Eranga removed Jonas Henriksen off the second ball of the innings when he got one to nip back into the right-hander trapping him LBW for a duck. Hamid Shah and Zameer Khan then rebuilt the innings reaching 76-1 after 19 overs before their chase was interrupted by rain.

Fortunately, play did resume with a revised target of 221 in 33 overs. Requiring 145 more runs for victory off 14 overs, the 2nd wicket pair hit the blocks running. Eranga, however, returned for a new spell to get Zameer caught behind before Klokker was bowled by a Saad Bin Zafar arm ball.

With the asking rate rising, Denmark collapsed, losing 8 wickets for 35 runs as Canada’s spinners closed out the innings, leading the North Americans to a comfortable two points. 

Vanuatu 65 (Nipiko 12, Nazril 4-14, Pavandeep 4-16) beat Malaysia 52 (Ramly 25, Matautaava 5-19, Stephen 3-30) by 13 runs (DLS Method) 

Don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong with your eyesight. Patrick Matautaava’s five-fer led Vanuatu to a historic win in a low-scoring thriller over hosts Malaysia, who folded for their second lowest total in 50-over cricket.

Earlier in the day, the men in yellow and black were led by impressive spells from both Pavandeep Singh and—arguably their find of the tournament—Nazril Rahman, both of whom took wickets of consecutive balls at different stages of the innings.

In reply, however, Matautaava removed Shafiq for a first-ball duck as the talented opener’s poor tournament continued. Malaysia’s woes continued as they kept nicking Vanuatu’s talisman to either Joshua Rasu at slip or to keeper Shane Deitz. With a mere 7 runs on the board, the hosts had lost half their side inside 5 overs.

Patrick Matautaava of Vanuatu was the hero with a POTM 5-19 against Malaysia (ICC)

Aminuddin Ramly and Nazril Rahman—who’ve both dug the hosts out of trouble at different stages of the tournament—then begun a mini recovery with a 21-run partnership.

Just when it looked like Malaysia would knock off the runs, Nazril top edged an Apolinaire Stephen delivery, which lobbed up and almost hit his stumps. Nazril had no idea where the ball was. But Joshua Rasu did as he waited for it to bounce and then kicked it onto the stumps.

Malaysia would lose two more quick wickets before the stubborn Pavandeep Singh would lend some much-needed support to Ramly. With 16 to win and two wickets in hand, Ramly attempted to whip Matautavaa off his legs for six only to top edge it high and into the hands of Jelany Chilia.

Chilia then came in after the rain break to take the final wicket, when Pavandeep Singh edged an arm ball to skipper Mansale at slip as Vanuatu registered a win they will not soon forget.

Singapore 245 (Mutreja 72, Chandramohan 67, Abraash 5-62, Pervez 2-23) beat Canada 191 (Abraash 33, Dutta 33, David 3-26, Krishna 2-36) by 4 runs (DLS Method) 

This mouth-watering contest saved for the last day did not disappoint. Tim David came through once more for Singapore, this time with his part-time off spin, as Canada became the latest giant to be slain by the Southeast Asian nation.

Canada chose to bowl first and got off to a great start reducing Singapore to 32-2 in the first Powerplay.

Tim David and recalled opener Arjun Mutreja then threatened to take the game away from the pre tournament favourites when David launched Saad Bin Zafar for 10 runs in the space of two balls in the spinners’ 4th over. Soon after, however, Singapore’s talisman was caught on the crease by the mystery spin of Nikhil Dutta.

After the dismissal of Manpreet Singh, Surendran Chandramohan walked in at 6; an interesting change of position intended to add some meat to a soft Singaporean middle order. The move paid off handsomely. After a sedate start, the tall right-hander laid into Nikhil Dutta and Abrash Khan as Singapore scored 59 runs between the 34th and the 40th overs.  

Unfortunately for Singapore, they could not push on, losing Mutreja and Chandramohan in the space of six balls, eventually folding for 245 inside 49 overs.

In reply, Canada began in typically belligerent fashion despite losing Rodrigo Thomas when he pulled a Vinoth Bhaskaran long hop straight to deep mid wicket. Stand-in captain Nitish Kumar followed soon after pulling one to Surendran Chandramohan at deep fine leg.

Tim David of Singapore bowling during his spell of 3-26 (ICC)

Tim David would then make his first breakthrough, getting Abraash stumped of a straighter one before rain threatened to ruin a thrilling encounter.

Fortunately, the rain did relent and Canada was set a revised target of 196 in 34 overs. And that’s when things went haywire. Canada lost four wickets for the addition of 2 runs in the space of 6 balls.

Tim David’s accuracy paid off as he dismissed Harsh Thaker caught & bowled attempting a sweep, and trapping Saad Bin Zafar on the crease for his third wicket. Ravinderpal would then run himself out off the very next ball.

Nitish Kumar of Canada scored 33 (ICC)

Hamza Tariq was beginning to bring Canada back into it before he was undone by Anantha Krishna’s leg breaks.

The fat lady, however, was yet to sing. With 47 required off the last 5 overs, Nikhil Dutta and Cecil Pervez were able to take 17 off Amjad Mahboob’s 5th over with both batsmen striking a maximum each.

Despite losing Pervez in the next over, Dutta continued to fight, reducing the equation to 10 off the last over. However, the number 9 was not willing to trust Romesh Eranga at the other end, playing out 4 dot consecutive dot balls. Despite a 4 that brought the equation down to 6 off 1, Dutta was only able to sky the last ball to Aryaman Uchil at short third man.

A triumphant Singapore sealed a crucial two points, level with Canada, although behind on NRR.

Qatar 185 (Rizlan 39, Iqbal Hussain 39, Stephen 3-32, Obed 3-45) beat Vanuatu 171 (Deitz 50, Rasu 32, Buddika 4-52, Nadeem 2-21) by 5 runs (DLS Method) 

Gayan Buddika and Mohammad Nadeem saved Qatar’s blushes after Vanuatu dismissed them for 185 to cap off a great tournament with the ball.

Apolinaire Stephen snared three early wickets as Vanuatu reduced Qatar to 75/5 after 22 overs. Mohammad Rizlan was once again the man for a crisis, top scoring with 39. Skipper Iqbal Hussain chipped in with 39 crucial runs of his own, leading a much-needed late acceleration to counter Jelany Chilia’s frugal spell of 1-18 off 10 overs.

Mohammad Rizlan of Qatar plays a shot with Kinrara Oval’s western grandstand in the background (ICC)

In response, Vanuatu started just as poorly as their opponents, losing half their side for 70. Just as it looked like Vanuatu would perish to Qatar’s trial-by-spin, Shane Deitz and Nipiko stitched together a 6th wicket stand of 64.

Desperate to keep the runs down, Kamran Khan was introduced into the attack. The part-time medium-pacer pulled a Tim David, surprising Shane Deitz with a short ball that was skied to deep square leg, and yorking Nalin Nipiko, who gave him the charge.

A late flourish by Simpson Obed wasn’t enough as Vanuatu fell short of their second successive victory and Qatar moved to third in the table.


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