T20 World Cup qualifiers: Oman, Papua New Guinea maintain top spots in groups; Ireland thrash Jersey
Oman sealed qualification for the next stage of the T20 World Cup qualifiers after Jatinder Singh’s unbeaten 68 guided his side to a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Canada.
With the victory, Oman moved to within one win of securing a spot for next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
Singh hit an unbeaten 68 and Aqib Ilyas scored 60 as Oman chased down their target of 145 in 14.5 overs to make it four wins from five matches and reach the top of Group B.
Canada earlier posted 144/9 from their 20 overs, with Srimantha Wijeyeratne top-scoring with 56. Zeeshan Maqsood’s 3/25 had ruined Canada’s good start which saw them reach 75/1 at one stage.
“I think we were around 20 runs short but the way they played the power play was incredible,” Canada captain Navneet Dhaliwal said.
“It wasn’t about bad bowling from us but it was amazing batting from them and we couldn’t do anything. He [Saad Bin Zafar] is not 100% and he can’t bat so that is trouble for us but we have a day off and then we are going to try and come together to beat UAE.”
Oman captain Zeeshan Maqsood said that his team was aware that it had to win the game.
“Jatinder and Aqib played brilliantly and that was the kind of knock we required because we knew we had to win this game,” he said.
“If our bowlers are doing their jobs then the batsmen do to and that will help us with the games ahead. It doesn’t matter whether we bat or bowl first against Jersey, we can’t take it easy against them because they are a good team.”
Earlier in the day, Papua New Guinea maintained their place at the top of Group A with their fourth win from five matches in the competition, beating Singapore by 43 runs.
Kiplin Doriga finished unbeaten on 43 not out, with Charles Amini also making 41 not out, before Damien Ravu took 4/18 as PNG’s score of 180/4 proved beyond Singapore.
After Tony Ura (30) and Assad Vala (24) provided an early platform, PNG recovered from a wobble thanks to fireworks from Doriga and Amini who smashed seven boundaries between them to propel the innings from average to an above par effort.
In the chase, Ravu’s seam was the undoing of a Singapore side who, aside from Tim David’s explosive 44 from 26 balls, were a distant second best in both innings.
“We just focused on getting the basics right, just because we were on TV we didn’t want to be flashy,” PNG captain Assad Vala said.
“A lot of people wrote us off with the way we played coming into this tournament but that was a different format and playing T20 cricket really suits the boys.”
Singapore captain Amjad Mahboob said his team will bounce back in their final group stage game.
“It was a very disappointing game for us, we have one game to play and now we’re in the position where teams are expecting to beat others but that’s nothing new for us,” he said.
“Credit goes to the PNG side, they played very well and they outclassed us in all departments. We have a young side, we will bounce back. Maybe not this tournament but in the future.”
Ireland overpower Jersey
Ireland completed a routine win over Jersey by eight wickets to remain in the Group B mix as Mark Adair took three wickets and Paul Stirling hit 58 not out.
Jersey proved no match as Mark Adair’s precision with the ball helped his side secure their third win after restricting their opponents to just 105 all out in 20 overs.
Adair struck with the fourth ball of the game and claimed two more wickets for just ten runs as Ireland squeezed Jersey into submission, with Ben Stevens’ 25 the best score of the innings.
Paul Stirling hit a muscular 58 not out from 37 balls in typical fashion and, joined by Andy Balbirnie (33), steered his side to within touching distance of a comfortable target – one they reached with six overs to spare.
Man of the match Mark Adair of Ireland said it was a good win since his team’s run-rate got a boost with early finish.
“It was nice to get a win and well done by the batters to go at it quickly at the end to make sure run rate is ticking along too,” he said.
“We’ve got guys on the bench who are good enough to be match winners and Youngy [Craig Young] came in and did his job perfectly, bowling brilliantly – we’ve got good depth on the bench.
“It keeps pushing the lads on the field to be better. Onto Nigeria tomorrow so fingers crossed we’ll get that sorted, it won’t be an easy game at all and every game here is must win.”
Jersey captain Charles Perchard said that Ireland were too professional in their performance.
“We weren’t quite at the races,” he said. “We’ll have to play better now that’s for sure, we’ll go away and think about how we can be at our best. There will be some changes to how we play and hopefully we’ll put on a better show against Oman.”
Elsewhere in Group A, Namibia secured their third straight win as they breezed past Kenya by 87 runs after Bernard Scholtz took 4/12 with the ball.
Stephan Baard (51) and Gerhard Erasmus (52 not out) both scored half-centuries as Namibia posted 181/5 before Kenya eventually fell to 94 all out in 18.5 overs in their chase.
Bernard Scholtz (four for 12) took his tournament wickets tally to ten as he spun Kenya into submission after his side’s batsmen set a big target of 182.
Baard’s half-century got Namibia’s effort with the bat off to a good start before a middle-order blast from Erasmus of 52 not out from just 25 balls and Craig Williams’ 28 left Kenya needing a mammoth innings to prevail.
Scholtz, who is now the tournament’s joint-leading wicket-taker, took crucial wickets throughout the innings as Kenya succumbed to 94 all out from 18.5 overs as JJ Smit also claimed 3/19.
“It comes down to if you’re in on these wickets, you can do some damage,” Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus said. “I think these wickets are flat enough to give yourself options.
“It’s then a matter of executing under pressure for that bowler and if he doesn’t as a batsman you have to make him pay. If he does then fair play, you have to take what you can get.”
Kenya captain Shem Ngoche said his team wanted to win the game and reach the next stage of the tournament.
“It’s very disappointing, I think it was a game we really wanted to win to give ourselves a chance to make it to the second phase of the tournament,” he said.
“But unfortunately, things didn’t go the way we wanted. So, I just have to take it as a bad day in the office for us. We were very confident and we told ourselves we can go for the score. One side of the field was short so that was probably the side of the field we wanted to target, but unfortunately we didn’t get the start that we wanted and we kept losing wickets.”