ICC World T20 Qualifiers | Namibia, Oman, Kenya register comfortable wins, Canada and Hong Kong win thrillers
Namibia, Oman, and Kenya registered comfortable wins over the respective opponents — Bermuda, Nigeria, and Singapore — while Canada and Hong Kong edged past Ireland and Jersey respectively. Canada’s 10-run win over Ireland in Abu Dhabi was their first win over a full ICC member since 2003.
Canada vs Ireland
With their third win from three matches at the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier on Wednesday, Canada went to the top of the points table in Group B. Skipper Navneet Dhaliwal proved his decision to bat first right by hitting a 51-ball 69 at the top of the order, taking his side’s total to 156 for five. Nitish Kumar also hit a fine fifty, a 35-ball 53, but Ireland staged something of a fightback at the backend of the innings with only 32 runs coming in the final five overs.
However, the target of 157 proved too big an ask of the Irish, particularly after losing Kevin O’Brien in the first over. Gareth Delaney and Paul Stirling’s partnership showed early promise, but it was ended in the fifth over by a sharp piece of fielding from Kumar at backward point. Thereafter, Ireland was never in the game, as Nikil Dutta's spell of three overs for just 12 runs choked the run flow entirely. Even a 21-ball 51-run eighth-wicket partnership between Stuart Thompson and George Dockrell wasn’t enough to salvage their fate.
Hong Kong vs Jersey
Hong Kong then registered their first win of the tournament, with an eight-run victory over Jersey. Jonty Jenner dropped a regulation catch in the deep off Harrison Carlyon to reprieve Nizakat Khan off the very first ball of the match. Khan took full advantage of his lifeline and hit a quickfire 48, which proved too costly for Jersey in the end. Later in the innings, Scott McKechnie's counterattacking 40 off 33, spoiled some of the good work done by the Jersey bowlers and saw his side through to 144 for 7.
Although they lost two early wickets in the chase, Jonty Jenner and Ben Stevens calmed things down with a 58-run partnership and looked well on course to overcome the target. But then, Jenner went back to a full delivery from Aizaz Khan and lost his off stump, before Stevens missed a rank full toss from Ehsan Khan to be bowled for 39. Corey Bisson’s 20-ball 30 inspired brief hope, as the ever-climbing asking rate proved too much for the Jersey tail.
Oman vs Nigeria
Earlier, Oman had brushed aside Nigeria to keep pace with Canada at the top of Group B on three wins, albeit having played four games. The Arab nation took just seven overs to chase down Nigeria’s total of 71. As things stand, Canada, Oman, and Jersey hold the qualification spots, while Ireland in fourth face the danger of losing out.
Kenya vs Singapore
Kenya, meanwhile, broke a three-match losing streak to beat Singapore in Dubai, throwing Group A wide open. Singapore won the toss, elected to bat first, and put a respectable total of 157 on the board, courtesy of cameos from Surendran Chandramohan, Tim David, Aritra Dutta, Navin Param, and wicket-keeper Manpreet Singh. For Kenya, Elijah Otieno and Lucas Oluoch finished with figures of three for 29 and three for 22 respectively.
In reply, the opening duo of Irfan Karim and Aman Gandhi put on a 110-run stand, making light work of the Singapore bowlers. Karim remained unbeaten till the end with a Man-of-the-Match winning 71 off 50 balls, while Gandhi fell just after completing his half-century.
Namibia vs Bermuda
Namibia also made light work of Bermuda, chasing down their total of 106 for nine with 41 balls to spare. Led by Man-of-the-Match Bernard Scholtz's three for 17, Namibia had the Bermudans reeling at 50 for eight, before Okera Bascome’s 31-ball 37 and Rodney Trott's unbeaten 23 from 21 staged a late rally to drag the score past the hundred-run mark.
Namibia set about the chase with an eye on maximising their net run rate, with opener Niko Davin’s exploding 12-ball 37, which included two fours and four sixes. Despite Kamau Leverock’s spell of medium-fast bowling returned three for 19, Namibia eventually crossed the finishing line courtesy of a flat-driven six from skipper Gerhard Erasmus’ bat. Winless after four matches, Bermuda are now almost out of contention for qualification, while Namibia joined a host of five teams with four points each in Group A. The Netherlands lead the way with six points from three matches.