Arjun Mutreja bats Singapore to victory over Malaysia; USA bowlers secure convincing win against Bermuda
The first day of Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 has seen Uganda secure a 20-run victory over defending champion Nepal, Singapore down host Malaysia by two wickets in a thriller, and USA record a convincing six-wicket victory over Bermuda.
At the Kinrara Oval, Uganda scored 203 for eight and then dismissed Nepal for 183, USA chased down a 107-run target in less than 18 overs to beat Bermuda by six wickets at Bayeumas and Singapore achieved the victory target of 199 in the penultimate over to beat Malaysia by two wickets.
In the main feature of the day, a 137-run sixth-wicket partnership between Phillemon Mukobe (84) and Brian Masaba (51) helped Uganda recover from 23 for five in 13.3 overs to 203 for eight in 50 overs after it had been put into bat by Nepal.
Mukobe’s 102-ball innings included six fours and three sixes, while Masaba’s 81-ball innings was studded with five fours. Tailenders Jonathan Ssebanja (20 not out) and Deusdedit Muhumuza (12 not out) added valuable runs in the end.
For Nepal, skipper Paras Khadka took three for 34, while Sompal Kami and Basant Regmi claimed two wickets apiece conceding 29 and 32 runs, respectively.
Nepal, led by top scorer Naresh Budhaayer (62), started its chase briskly but lost its way in the middle as it collapsed from 103 for two to 183 all out in 48.5 overs, including four wickets in the final two overs.
Uganda’s Davis Arinaitwe was the most successful bowler, returning figures of four for 33, included the prized scalp of Budhaayer who fell in the 38th over of the innings after hitting four fours and a six in a 122-ball innings.
Arinaitwe was ably supported by Roger Mukasa, who finished with three for 28 in four overs, while Jonathan Sebanja bagged two for 28 in 8.5 overs.
Uganda skipper Frank Nsubuga was pleased with the result, and reflected: “The camp is feeling much better, after recovering from about 25 for five and coming back and scoring 200 – the boys worked so hard. I think they did a good job.”
The skipper believed that his side’s fielding outshone any individual performances on the day. “I think fielding is our strength. In this tournament, you have to field well to lift the trophy.”
A disappointed Nepal captain Paras Khadka said: “We started well, but I think they put on a very good partnership, and we just couldn’t finish it off. Unfortunately, these kinds of games, we should be able to finish them off. But this is the first game of the tournament, the tournament is still wide open, and we need to rectify our mistakes and move forward and come back strong.
“Our bowling was pretty good, but they were 23 for five, and then they put on a very good partnership. Still, chasing 204 shouldn’t have been that hard on that wicket, but unfortunately our batters just couldn’t finish it off. Everyone got slow starts, and we just couldn’t convert. If one of the batsman had converted, I think the result would have been different.”
Elsewhere, two half-centuries were not enough to prevent host Malaysia being beaten by two wickets by neighbour Singapore in the penultimate over at Selangor Turf Club.
After electing to field first, Singapore dismissed Malaysia for 198 in 47.3 overs, before chasing down the target in 48.5 overs with two wickets in hand.
Malaysia opener Anwar Arudin (51, five fours, three sixes) and skipper Ahmed Faiz (57, six fours, one six) were the main run-getters for the home side as the two put on 62 runs for the second wicket. Later, Aminuddin Ramly belted three sixes and a four in a 38-ball 30 to lift his side to a competitive score.
For Singapore, Dharmichand Mulewa snapped up three for 27, while left-arm spinner Abhiraj Singh took three for 43.
Singapore’s started its run-chase well with opener Arjun Mutreja’s patient knock of 73, with 10 fours, anchoring the innings. Twenty-eight-year-old Christopher Janik chipped in with 32, while skipper Saad Junjua at number-seven added a run-a-ball 32.
A delighted Janjua later said: “We have a history of losing the first match. This time, we did well, and it is definitely a boost for the team. Our spinners bowled very well, and batting partnerships built a really good base. We hope to give it our besttomorrow.”
In the final match of the day, USA started its campaign with a convincing six wickets victory over neighbour Bermuda.
USA chased down the required total of 107 for the loss of four wickets, with skipper Steve Massiah scoring at almost a run-a-ball 31 to see his side reach 107.
Earlier, Bermuda failed to recover from the loss of early wickets, with opener Christian Burgess (24) and number-seven Allan Douglas II (36 from 35 balls) the only batsmen to make substantial contributions. After losing its last three wickets in three overs, Bermuda was all out for 106 in 26.5 overs. For the USA, man of the match Usman Shuja and Jermaine Lawson took three wickets apiece.
USA skipper Massiah said that the win was a good boost for his side. “The loss against Bermuda in last year’s tournament in Bermuda still hurts. We wanted to come today, have a clinical performance and take control early. We wanted to get our net run-rate up early.”
Points table as at Thursday, 23 October:
Scores in brief:
Uganda 203 for eight, 50 overs (Phillemon Mukobe 84, Brian Masaba 51; Paras Khadka 3-34)
Nepal 183 all out, 48.5 overs (Naresh Budhaayer 62; Davis Arinaitwe 4-33, Roger Mukasa 3-28)
Uganda won by 20 runs
Player of the Match: Phillemon Mukobe (Uganda)
Bermuda 106 all out, 26.5 overs (Allan Douglas II 36, Christian Burgess 24; Usman Shuja 3-12, Jermaine Lawson 3-30)
USA 107 for four, 17.3 overs (Steve Massiah 31)
USA won by six wickets
Player of the Match: Usman Shuja (USA)
At Selangor Turf Club
Malaysia 198 all out, 47.3 overs (Ahmed Faiz 57, Anwar Arudin 51, Aminuddin Ramly 30; Dharmichand Mulewa 3-27, Abhiraj Singh 3-43)
Singapore 199 for eight, 48.5 overs (Arjun Mutreja 73, Christopher Janik 32, Saad Junjua 32; Hassan Ghulam 4-15)
Singapore won by two wickets
Player of the Match: Arjun Mutreja (Singapore)
At Kinrara: Uganda v Singapore
At Bayeumas: Malaysia v USA
At Selangor Turf Club: Bermuda v Nepal
All matches are scheduled to start at 1015 local time