United States of America and Papua New Guinea each secured thrilling victories on day two of World Cricket League Division 2.
Oman are a step closer to securing ODI status, as the only side with two wins from two following a dramatic second day of action in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Windhoek.
Zeeshan Maqsood made a brilliant century to help Oman defeat Canada by 99 runs, just 24 hours after beginning the tournament with victory over the United States of America.
For their part, USA bounced back on day two as their bowlers – led by Ali Khan with a five-fer – dramatically denied hosts Namibia in the final over to win by two runs.
And Papua New Guinea also recorded a first victory of the campaign as they expertly chased down a target of 223 to beat Hong Kong by three wickets.
The top four teams at the end of the week in Namibia will earn ODI status and join the newly-formed ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 – where they will play 36 ODIs over a two-and-a-half year period – so while Oman are currently in pole position, there is plenty to play for in the next round of games on Tuesday.
Namibia v USA
A dramatic conclusion at Wanderers Cricket Ground saw hosts Namibia defeated by the USA with just two balls remaining and only two runs needed.
Namibia’s decision to field looked justified when USA openers Xavier Marshall (2) – a former West Indian international – and Monank Patel (14) were removed cheaply by JJ Smit as two of his five wickets.
But number four Aaron Jones produced a virtuoso performance as a third-wicket partnership of 75 alongside Steven Taylor (44) and a 127-run fourth-wicket stand with Hayden Walsh (57) helped set a defendable total.
Jones smashed nine fours and a pair of sixes in an unbeaten knock of 103 to move USA to 250/7 from their 50 overs.
Twenty-four hours after easily chasing down 119 against Papua New Guinea, Namibia looked well on course for a second win in as many days when skipper Gerhard Erasmus and Jean Bredenkamp brought them to 156 for two.
Although Saurabh Netravalkar (3/50) dismissed Erasmus for 92 and Bredenkamp for 55 in quick succession, the hosts still looked favourites thanks to useful contributions from Craig Williams (24) and Christi Viljoen (30).
However, from needing just 18 runs with five wickets in hand, a brilliant spell of bowling from Ali Khan (5/46) turned the tide – the seamer taking three wickets in the penultimate over of the match to leave Namibia needing seven from the final six balls and just one wicket in hand.
Number nine Karl Birkenstock and number 11 Zhivago Groenewald nurdled four off the first three balls of Netravalkar’s over but Groenewald was then run out by the bowler to seal a nerve-jangling two-run win for USA.
USA Player of the Match, Muhammad Ali Khan said: “First of all a great team effort and I am glad we came out on top. It was a tough game, it came down to the last over and we are happy with the win, as most importantly we needed this win to get things started.”
Namibia Head Coach, Pierre de Bruyn said: “We’ve played two games, won one and lost one, there is still a lot of cricket to be played in this tournament. We need to improve in certain areas and we will. The guys gave their best, it was a close game and we need to bounce back.”
Canada v Oman
After winning the toss, Canada’s decision to field at Affies Park backfired when Oman’s top order set about compiling a challenging total.
Aqib Ilyas and skipper Zeeshan Maqsood put on 126 for the third wicket before Ilyas was caught and bowled for 86 by Navneet Dhaliwal.
That did not slow Maqsood down however as he bludgeoned nine fours and four sixes in a brilliant knock of 109 from just 102 balls before eventually being dismissed by Romesh Eranga (3/57) with three balls left in the innings – remarkably becoming the fifth Omani batsman to be out caught and bowled.
By that point, he had steered Oman to an intimidating total of 285/7 and their bowlers ensured Canada’s chase got off to the worst possible start as Ruvindu Gunasekera was caught behind off Bilal Khan from the second ball of the innings.
Number three Nitish Kumar (57) tried to hold the chase together but once Sandeep Goud (2/21) had him caught by Jatinder Singh to reduce Canada to 104 for four, the run-rate dropped considerably and the North Americans were eventually 186 all out after 43.2 overs – Fayyaz Butt (3/29) the pick of the bowlers in the 99-run triumph.
Oman captain, Zeeshan Maqsood said “It is awesome, the feeling is great. I spoke with my coaches and players and today I made good runs, I am very happy. We are still looking for another 2 or 3 wins, but there is still more work to be done and we need to look ahead to the next matches.”
PNG v Hong Kong
Opener Tony Ura set Papua New Guinea on their way and number eight Jason Kila saw them over the line at United Cricket Club Ground to get a first win in this Division 2 campaign, downing Hong Kong.
Having won the toss and chosen to field, PNG may have regretted the decision when Hong Kong opener Anshuman Rath set about compiling a big score for the second day running.
Having made an unbeaten 114 in the opening-day triumph over Canada, skipper Rath blasted six fours and one six in a knock of 85 from 98 balls – meaning his current average for the competition is 199.
Rath was eventually caught behind off the bowling of Nosaina Pokana (2/40) before the likes of Ahsan Abbasi (37) and Tanwir Afzal (24) helped set a final total of 222/9, while PNG bowlers Damien Ravu and Charles Amini also took two wickets each.
But Papua New Guinea paced their reply perfectly as Ura got them off to flyer with 87 from 101 balls – which included eight boundaries – and skipper Assad Vala (25) and Chad Soper (22) both chipped in.
Off-spinner Ehsan Khan (4/36) removed Ura and Vala to keep Hong Kong in the hunt but Soper and Kila’s (36 not out) seventh-wicket partnership of 58 saw PNG almost over the line before John Reva hit the winning run with 14 balls remaining to seal a three-wicket victory.
PNG Head Coach, Joe Dawes said: “On the back of yesterday, we challenged the boys to step up, and we saw Tony (Ura) make a match-winning score today and then we a good fightback with the ball. It is not a complete turnaround but it is a good start, especially against Hong Kong who are a good side and who we play a lot against.”
Hong Kong Coach, Simon Cook “I am disappointed with today’s match, in some periods we had it under control and have let it slip. Having said that 222 was a defendable score on this pitch and we didn’t really step up until 25 or 30 overs with the ball. Looking ahead we need to continue playing the good brand of cricket we have been playing, leading into this tour we have been eight games unbeaten, we will use today’s loss as motivation to go ahead and win the rest of the games.”
Scores in brief
USA won by two runs at Wanderers Cricket Ground, Windhoek
USA 250/7, 50 overs (Aaron Jones 103 not out, Hayden Walsh 57, Steven Taylor 44; JJ Smit 5/63)
Namibia 248 all out, 49.4 overs (Gerhard Erasmus 92, Jean Bredenkamp 55; Ali Khan 5/46, Saurabh Netravalkar 3/50)
Oman won by 99 runs at Affies Park, Windhoek
Oman 285/7, 50 overs (Zeeshan Maqsood 109, Aqib Ilyas 86; Romesh Eranga 3/57, Nitish Kumar 2/45)
Canada 186 all out, 43.2 overs (Nitish Kumar 57, Bhavindu Adhihetty 28; Fayyaz Butt 3/29, Mohammad Nadeem 2/13)
Papua New Guinea won by three wickets at United Cricket Club Ground, Windhoek
Hong Kong 222/9, 50 overs (Anshuman Rath 85, Ahsan Abbasi 37; Damien Ravu 2/35, Charles Amini 2/36)
Papua New Guinea 223/7, 47.4 overs (Tony Ura 87, Jason Kila 36 not out; Ehsan Khan 4/36, Aizaz Khan 2/39)
UPCOMING TOURNAMENT MATCHES
Monday, 22 April – Rest/Reserve Day
Tuesday, 23 April – Hong Kong v Oman, Wanderers; PNG v USA, WAP; Namibia v Canada, Trustco UNITED
Wednesday, 24 April – PNG v Canada, Wanderers; Namibia v Oman, WAP; Hong Kong v USA, Trustco UNITED
Thursday, 25 April – Rest/Reserve Day
Friday, 26 April – Canada v USA, Wanderers; Namibia v Hong Kong, WAP; PNG v Oman, Trustco UNITED
Saturday, 27 April – Final, Wanderers (ODI); 3rd v 4th Playoff (ODI), WAP; 5th v 6th Playoff, Trustco UNITED
All matches start at 09h30 local time.