Interesting battles played out on two contrasting wickets, as Canada won their second match while Namibia opened their account in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off.
Toss: United States of America won the toss and opted to bowl
Result: Canada won by 26 runs
The battle of American rivals began with yet another top-order failure for Canada. Pargat Singh (0), Matthew Spoors (4) and Srimantha Wijeyeratne (1) all fell in no time as Ali Khan (2/41) and Saurabh Netravalkar (2/24) showed top form.
The reconstruction job fell on Aaron Johnson and Nicholas Kirton, who showed restraint before opening their arms after the ninth over. Johnson hit six fours and a six in an entertaining knock before he fell to the slow left-arm orthodox spin of Nisarg Patel for 47. When Kirton and Nikhil Dutta joined him in the dressing room 43 balls later, Canada were in deep trouble at 98/6.
Skipper Saad Bin Zafar stuck around with Harsh Thaker (43) in a 48-run stand but USA kept chipping away with wickets at regular intervals to ensure that Canada didn’t cross 200.
In response, USA batters found the going tough. They lost opener Saiteja Mukkamalla for just one run, while Thaker accounted for skipper Monank Patel with his off-spin in the eighth over.
Aaron Jones, who had mustered an impressive 36 in the last game, arrived at number four and along with Sushant Modani, ensured that the run-scoring kept pace with the asking rate. However, Thaker (2/30) struck yet again in the 16th over to dismiss Jones. Canada were on top after Pargat got rid of Gajanand Singh, USA’s hero from the last game, in the 26th over.
Regular strikes ensured that the wickets column kept bleeding, while disciplined bowling kept the scoring rate in check. Only the reticent Modani (64) stood his ground as the game slowly slipped away from USA. His dismissal in the 45th over extinguished the last embers of American hope. Saad (3/43) and Kaleem Sana (3/14) shined with the ball for Canada.
Toss: Papua New Guinea won the toss and opted to bowl
Result: Namibia won by 48 runs
Namibia picked the attacking route in quest of their first win in the tournament. Two early losses, both to Kabua Morea, didn’t deter the African team with Nikolaas Davin (90) and Gerhard Erasmus (125) going all guns blazing. The Namibian attitude was best shown in how the successful Morea was hit out of the attack, his third and fourth over going for 16 runs apiece.
The Barramundis would’ve expected Davis’ departure at the halfway stage to bring about a deceleration in scoring rate, while also encouraging more chances for the bowling side. However, Erasmus and his new partner Jan Loftie-Eaton (61) proved equal to the task.
The duo scored runs at a brisk pace and ensured that the momentum stayed with Namibia. By the time Erasmus brought up his century off a six in the 37th over, the team was well on its way to a score of 300 and more.
Death-over fireworks from Zane Green (33 from 17), Ruben Trumpelmann (17 from 5) and Karl Birkenstock (19 from 8) meant that Namibia went way beyond that mark, and finished at 381/8, their highest ODI total.
Papua New Guinea tried to fight fire with fire and despite losing Tony Ura in just the second over, kept up the aggression. Kiplin Doriga and Sese Bau (54) made the most of a good batting strip, getting their team to 99 runs in merely 12 overs. Loss of Bau saw the scoring rate get stifled even as the Barramundis suddenly slipped to 130/4 by the 20th over.
The innings saw another phase of rebuild, led by Charles Amini (109) and Assad Vala (57). The batters let loose after 25th over, and added 120 runs over the next 10 overs. Vala was particularly brutal on Trumpelmann, taking his sixth over for 15 runs. The left-arm pacer had little respite, as it was Amini who targetted him in the next over, smashing 13 off his seventh.
As the duo took Ben Shikongo apart for 25 runs in the 33rd over to bring the required run rate below eight, PNG got their hopes up. Amini brought up his century in merely 66 balls. Finally, it was the skipper Erasmus (2/44) who got the better of his opposite number Vala in the 38th and Amini in the 40th over.
PNG were on the backfoot once more. There was a flutter of hope created by some lower-order hitting, but Trumpelmann (3/63) made a heroic double-wicket return in the 45th over to seal the game in Namibia’s favour.
The Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off will be available on Fancode in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan; and on Willow TV in the USA.
Fans in ALL other regions can watch the Qualifier Play-off live and FREE on ICC.tv on:
* ICC.tv website
* ICC.tv mobile apps (available in the App Store and Google Play)
* Samsung TV and LG TV apps