CWC Challenge League B, Round 1, Day 2:

Italy 211 for 6 (Smith 102*, Ross 31, Obuya 3-31) defeated Kenya 210 (Karim 71, Patel 36, Ross 4-31) by four wickets with 2 ball remaining.

The first surprise result of group B of the ICC Challenge League, that is currently taking place in Oman, has arrived and it carries an Italian label. The Azzurri with an inspired all round performance beat Kenya, a distant relative of the great team of a not too distant past.

On winning the toss, Joy Perera decided to put the East Africans in to bat. However, apart from a painstaking 71 off 121 balls by skipper Karim, Don Pringle’s nephews did not look on song with the bat. Italy bowled tidely and fielded with zest, none more so than Michael Ross who finished with 4/35. In the end Kenya were dismissed for 210 off 49.4 overs.

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Italy did not enjoy the best of starts quickly losing Meade and Maiolo. From the low of 22/2 a partnership between new boy Nikolai Smith and skipper Perera put the Azzurri back on track before the latter’s dismissal, quickly followed by those of Berg and Manpreet Singh. At 86/5 after 19.4 overs, Kenya were in the driving seat.

Nikolai Smith, at this point, took charge. The Cape Town Neapolitan found two stubborn partners in Michael Ross, whose 31 off 51 balls capped a great all round game, and Rakibul Hassan. The latter, following a good bowling spell, contributed 29 off 47 balls taking Nikolai, 102 not out off 122 balls, to his ton, the first ever registered on debut in the Nazionale’s history. Italy closed the match with four wickets and 18 balls to spare.

Hong Kong 294 for 7 (Shah 116*, Barkat 66, Bascome 2-49) defeated Bermuda 291 for 8 (Leverock 63, Manders 63, Aftab 3-39) by 3 wickets with 4 balls remaining.

Kinchit Shah after his POTM performance for Hong Kong against Bermuda
Kinchit Shah receives his POTM award (Photo: CHK)

On the adjacent ground, it looked for most of the day that another surprise was about to take place. Bermuda, having accumulated a massive 291 thanks to hefty contributions, 63, by Leverock and Manders, the first more aggressive, the second a pensive affair, had Hong Kong in trouble at 14/2 after 2.4 overs. Shah’s anchor century, 116 off 135, provided the required stability, aided by Waqas Barkat’s supportive 66 off 58, allowing HK to get home by three wickets with four balls to spare.

Points table and full schedule here.

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