USA 128/0 (Monank Patel 70*, Xavier Marshall 54*) defeated Papua New Guinea 127 all out (Lega Siaka 32, Kipling Doriga 30, Karima Gore 4/23, Ali Khan 3/41) by 10 wickets.
Windhoek treated the six teams at World Cricket League with a cloudless day, and the USA enjoyed a similarly unblemished day at Affies Park, defeating PNG by ten wickets.
Several heads were turned when PNG captain Assad Vala won the toss and elected to bat on a Tuesday Windhoek morning and on an Affies pitch that offered a little for quick bowling in the morning. Ali Khan reaped the rewards, with three wickets inside the first ten overs. Hit for six earlier in his second over by the ever-attacking Tony Ura, the quickest bowler in the tournament had a near instant response, catching Ura on the crease and finding the outside edge. Steven Taylor at second slip low to the ground took an excellent catch to give the USA an early breakthrough.
The pace of Ali Khan seemed too difficult to negotiate at times, with the CPL cult hero picking up two more scalps in his spell. Sese Bau, after taking 19 balls to trouble the scorers, was trapped on the crease and struck in front. Umpire Alex Dowdalls, who has enjoyed a fine tournament thus far, had little hesitation in raising the finger.
It was a similar story for the skipper Vala who was also caught in no-man’s-land with his footwork, with Dowdalls once again convinced that the ball was going on to hit his stumps. PNG were 23 for 3 after 10 overs and had a huge hill uphill climb to post a competitive score.
Things failed to improve for Papua New Guinea, with CJ Amini following soon after. Steven Taylor’s off-spin at first change for the USA kept the pressure on, with Amini on a cut shot being brought undone with an edge. Jaskaran Malhotra taking a sharp catch behind the stumps.
Chad Soper was brought in at six to stop the bleeding, and looked to rebuild with Siaka, with quick running between the wickets squeezing out vital runs. After a number of back foot drives off Taylor, Soper was claimed by Karima Gore. Attacking with a stump-to-stump line, Soper was adjudged LBW, though looked displeased with the decision, gesturing to his bat to perhaps show that he may have edged it.
At 61/5, things failed to improve. Siaka was also struck in front by Gore, and despite a fighting 30 by keeper-batsman Kipling Doriga, PNG were cleaned up by the left-arm orthodox bowler, who finished with 4/23.
All out for 127 in the 40th over, lunch was not taken and openers Monank Patel and Xavier Marshall strode out to the wicket in an awkward 35-minute passage of play before the break. The pair put on 49 for no loss before the 40-minute stoppage in nine overs, handing their side all but a victory.
With net run rate so crucial in this competition, the message from the American leadership group was to push on and finish the match in quick time. The pair obliged, with lusty blows by the pair, with both reaching half centuries. Monank raced past Marshall, scoring 22 off Lega Siaka’s only over. Monank took on and beat the long-off fielder with a glorious straight drive, only to follow up with a second six over cover which landed over the fence at Affies park. To rub salt in the wounds, Monank lifted a replacement ball over the rope with a third six, all but tying up the match. Damien Ravu came on to ball the 20th over, with Patel hitting the winning runs with a lofted drive straight.
After three days of cricket in Namibia, the USA sit in third on the WCL2 table, only behind the tournament hosts on net run rate. PNG by contrast sit dangerously in fifth, behind Hong Kong on net run rate.
USA take on Hong Kong on matchday four, with PNG to take on Canada, with the loser all but out of the ODI status race.