Oman cricket team

Global Game: CWCL2, U19 World Cup Africa qualifiers headline a busy week

By Emerging Cricket

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The ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series in Oman wrapped up this week with an unseasonal downpour in Muscat leaving points shared between Scotland and the hosts, while in Rwanda the men’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Africa qualifier got underway with Tanzania springing an early upset against Namibia.

Scotland star in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 in Oman

At Oman’s Al-Amerat venue, amidst the construction of new stands for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup later in the month, the hosts were edged out by Scotland on Tuesday, as they left their charge a little late in the death overs.

Opting to bat in the heat of the day (rather than bowl), Scotland were visibly sapped by temperatures nudging 40°C, but Richie Berrington’s valiant 97 (87), as well as 60 (63) from skipper Kyle Coetzer, took them to a challenging total of 273/6. Oman looked threatening early, as opener Jatinder Singh continued his run of good form with 64 (65) in quick time. Disciplined spells from left-arm orthodox duo Mark Watt (1/22 off 10) and Hamza Tahir (1/34 off 10) made up for a wayward effort by the seam attack, as Oman were able to rebuild after middle-order wickets. Sandeep Goud at no. 8 struck 54* (56), with six-hitting assistance from keeper Naseem Khushi and fast bowler Kaleemullah, but ultimately they ran out of the road and fell 18 runs short of the Scots in their 50 overs.

Papua New Guinea’s poor run in CWCL2 continued, as they remain winless at the bottom of the table after another pair of losses against Oman and Scotland.

In the Wednesday game, the top order struggled to 97/6 before bowlers Norman Vanua (57 off 52) and Chad Soper (39* off 46) did a rescue job and scratched their way to 226/8 in 50 overs. Seamers Michael Leask (3/19 off 10) and Alisdair Evans (3/42 off 10) were the chief destroyers, and Leask backed it up with a rapid 51* (34) at the back end of the chase to claim a well-deserved Player of the Match award. Kyle Coetzer’s 81 (103) had set up the chase, though a disciplined bowling reply (led by 2/40 from Kabua Vagi-Morea) kept things tighter than the Scots would have liked, as they eventually passed the target 6 wickets down in the 49th over.

The Friday match went much the same way, with PNG collapsing around Assad Vala’s 62 (78) as they were bamboozled by all-rounder Khawar Ali’s leg-spin and posted just 150; Ali claimed his first-ever ODI 5-wicket haul on his way to 5/15 and the Player of the Match award. Oman’s response wobbled early and late as they lost wickets in clumps on either side of a 73-run stand between Aqib Ilyas and Mohammad Nadeem, but Ilyas’ steady hand of 56 (77) ensured that Oman got past PNG’s inadequate target with 3 wickets in hand, despite their jitters. Vagi-Morea’s 5/28 was the best effort for PNG (and his first 5-wicket haul too).

Saturday’s game fell victim to a freak rain dump in the desert as cyclone Shaheen approached the Gulf; Shaheen is the first tropical cyclone to hit Oman since records began. Scotland were 100/3 in the 24th over when the heavens opened, and with George Munsey looking ominous on 58* (55), the hosts may have felt relieved to share the points.

Tanzania making headlines in U19 CWC Africa Qualifier 2021 

Meanwhile, in Rwanda, Tanzania headlined the early matches of the African U19 qualifier. Promoted from the second division of African youth cricket (after the Division 2 competition had to be cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic), they beat hosts Rwanda in the tournament opener on Thursday, then overcame favourites Namibia on Friday. Sent in to bat with rain around, Rwanda crawled to 118/6 in 45 overs thanks to a suffocating spell of 2/11 in Yalinde Nkanya’s 10 overs and Johnson Nyambo’s 3/31 in 10. Rwanda’s defence was led by openers Eric Kubwimana (1/20 off 7) and Parfait Mugisha (1/23 off 6), but Tanzanian skipper Gokul Das led the way with a calm 48 (83), and the visitors reached the revised DLS target with 4 wickets and 20 balls to spare.

On Friday against Namibia, skipper Dhrumit Mehta took charge with 69 (116) and united with Abduramani Akida (56 off 82) to carry Tanzania to 200/8 in their 50 overs. Namibian captain Jack Parker’s 3/9 ensured the score was not higher as he helped to derail the Tanzanian charge at the death. In response, Namibia looked to be cruising at 87/1 in the 21st over, but when opener Ryan Moffet was runout for 35 (70) by Laksh Bakrania, the collapse was on. Bakrania’s left-arm orthodox was introduced to the attack next over, and the 14-year-old produced a memorable spell of 5/28 in 9.3 overs to lead the rout of Namibia’s batting. Jan Balt fought bravely with 53 (62), but he didn’t get enough support and Namibia were bundled out for just 152, leaving Tanzania in the box seat to claim the sole qualifying slot.

Namibia’s Thursday match against Uganda had gone more according to plan, with an all-round effort from Jan Balt taking them home - he first claimed 3/28 with his off-spin as Uganda were dismissed for just 125, then he smashed 72* (71) at the top of the order to carry a 7-wicket victory inside 22 overs.

Rwanda meanwhile tasted victory in their second match, overcoming last edition’s champions Nigeria at Kigali’s second international venue - the recently upgraded facility at the Integrated Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC). 

On Friday, the hosts edged out Nigeria by 4 runs in a thriller, thanks to a disciplined bowling effort that saw four bowlers take at least two wickets. After the Rwandan batters struggled to 125 off 49.4 (Destiny Chilemanya’s 3/20 off 10 the pick for Nigeria), the home bowlers backed up with a disciplined response - seamer Parfait Mugisha was stifling with 2/18 off 10, and offspinner Emile Rukiraza tied Nigeria in knots with 3/20 off 10. The fact that Isaac Onyemgba was the top scorer with just 22 indicates the struggle for Nigeria as they were just unable to build partnerships and fell 4 short.

Tanzania’s momentum continued on Sunday, as they thrashed Nigeria in a dominant bowling display at the IPRC. Yalinde Nkanya led the way with the ball, claiming 6/24 in 8 overs of left-arm orthodox as Nigeria were flummoxed; the team was dismissed for just 39 in 16 overs, with not a single batter reaching double figures. Tanzania polished off the chase with 9 wickets and a massive 226 deliveries to spare.

Across town at the Gahanga, and the hosts were thumped by Uganda as Cyrus Kakuru notched the tournament’s first century with 116 (102). The knock, allied with wicketkeeper-captain Pascal Murungi’s 66 (68) powered the Baby Cricket Cranes to 311/9 in their 50 overs. In response, with rain around, Rwanda struggled to keep up with the asking rate and ended at 62/4 after 21 overs - 100 runs short on the DLS calculations when the heavens opened. Offspinner Joseph Baguma claimed the best figures with 3/15 in 7 overs.

Global Game is a collaboration between the ICC and Emerging Cricket.

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