Singapore secured a five-wicket win over Jersey to end the league stage of the 2014 edition of the ICC World Cricket League Division Four on top of the table on Friday (June 27). Malaysia’s six-wicket win over Oman put it on a par with Singapore, with both teams finishing on eight points. However, Singapore finished ahead on the basis of a superior net run-rate and the two teams will now face each other in the final of the tournament being played in Singapore on Saturday. Italy got the better of Denmark by six wickets in the other match of the day and the two teams will now face each other in the third-place playoff, while Jersey and Oman will look for a fifth place finish on the same day.
Singapore’s win was set up by Abhiraj Singh. The left-arm spinner’s 4 for 34 in ten overs helped it bowl Jersey out for 224 in 49.4 overs after it had elected to field first at the Indian Association Ground. Chaminda Ruwan’s unbeaten century then helped Singapore knock off the required runs in 46.5 overs.
Singapore had Jersey in a fix early, reducing it to 23 for 3 in 7.2 overs. A 155-run fourth wicket stand between Nat Watkins (73) and Dean Morrison (77), led Jersey’s fightback. The duo departed in quick succession after which Singapore’s bowlers struck at quick intervals. Charles Perchard, who came in at No.10, chipped in with a valuable 34, even as Jersey lost its last seven wickets for just 46 runs.
Amjad Mahboob and Saad Januja took two wickets each to complement Abhiraj’s good work, while Mulewa Dharmichand’s off-spin fetched him the important wicket of Morrison.
Jersey’s bowlers then made a positive start and had the home team in a spot of bother, sending four of its batsmen back after 11.5 overs with just 56 on the board. Ruwan was then joined by wicketkeeper Kshitij Shinde who scored a crucial 79 and featured in a 162-run fifth wicket stand with the centurion to take his team to the doorstep of victory. Ruwan remained unbeaten on 112, having struck nine boundaries and two sixes during his 140-ball knock.
Cornelis Bodenstein took three wickets for Jersey, but was a touch expensive, giving away 47 in his eight overs. Anthony Hawkins-Kay and Charles Perchard took a wicket apiece.
At the Kallang Ground, a collective effort from Malaysia’s bowlers helped bowl Oman out for 198 in 49.4 overs. In reply, Malaysia romped home in 42.4 overs with six wickets in hand.
Zeeshan Maqsood, the opener, and Sultan Ahmed, the captain and wicketkeeper, chipped in with important knocks of 45 and 55 respectively after their team was asked to bat. The duo came together with their team on 65 for 4 after 20.4 overs and put on 55 for the fifth wicket. Amir Ali (30) and Aamir Kaleem (17) made brief contributions before the bowlers quickly wiped out the tail.
Shahrulnizam Yusof’s impressive run in the tournament continued, his left-arm spin fetching him 3 for 24 in six overs. He found plenty of support from Hassan Ghulam, Suharril Fetri, and Nasir Shafiq, who all took two wickets each, while Khizar Hayat took 1 for 17 in ten economical overs.
Malaysia lost Hammadullah Khan early in its chase. Nasir Shaifq (38) was the dominant partner in a second-wicket stand worth 47 with Ahmed Faiz, the captain, who anchored the chase with a 93-ball 70. Faiz featured in two important partnerships, first adding 59 with Suhan Alagaratnam (26) for the third wicket, before putting on a further 62 with Fetri (46 not out) until he was caught off Amir Ali’s off-spin. Fetri, however, stayed on and, along with Shafiq Sharif, ensured that Malaysia faced no further hiccups in pursuit of the target.
At the Padang, Gayashan Munasinghe ran through Denmark’s top-order, as it was restricted to 236 for 8 by Italy. Munasinghe took 4 for 52 in ten overs and found able support in Vince Pennazza, his new-ball partner, who took 3 for 43 in ten overs.
Denmark’s decision to bat first backfired, as it quickly slipped to a precarious 19 for 4. Shehzad Ahmed (55) and Hamid Shah (27) then added 48 for the fifth wicket in 14 overs. Hamid was castled by Carl Sandri, the offspinner, following which Shehzad carried on with a 114-run stand with top-scorer Amjad Khan (73). Yasir Iqbal’s 15-ball 27 then helped Denmark finish strongly and post a reasonable total.
Italy then paced its chase well. Andy Northcote (73) and Dinidu Marage (82), the openers, put on 150 for the opening wicket in just 24.3 overs, and with a strong platform set, Denmark’s bowlers needed a miracle to force a win. They did make some quick strikes once the opening stand was broken, but 237 was always going to be hard to defend at that point. Damian Crowley (39 not out), the Italy captain, and Michael Raso (16 not out) took the team over the line to seal a comfortable win with eight overs to spare.
Singapore takes on Malaysia in final