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Cricket news - Oman on the brink of ODI Status

Only a five-way tie on three points paired with a significant downward net run rate adjustment for Oman could possibly deny them an ODI status now.

Oman's ODI status is as good as secure after the Red Brigade recorded their third consecutive win at World Cricket League Division 2, besting Hong Kong at Affies park with seven wickets and more than four overs to spare. Bilal Khan removed danger-man Anshuman Rath early and returned at the death to bag two more scalps and wrap up the Hong Kong innings for 176. Jatinder Singh's 65 from the top of the order set the platform for a successful chase. Only a five-way tie on three points paired with a significant downward net run rate adjustment for Oman could possibly deny them now, so only one possible combination of results across the next six games could prevent the Sultanate from becoming the 24th side to gain ODI status and claiming a place in CWC League 2.

Meanwhile at Wanderers, pre-tournament favourites USA reasserted themselves with a comprehensive drubbing of Papua New Guinea, skittling the Barramundis for 127 and chasing the total down at a canter. Xavier Marshall and Monank Patel knocked off the runs inside 20 overs in an accelerating, unbroken first wicket stand to put the Americans in a strong position coming back from an opening loss to Oman.

At United, Canada extended their winless streak to three matches, slumping to a 98-run defeat at the hands of Namibia, leaving themselves a mountain to climb if they are to fight their way into the top four. The hosts racked up a daunting 258 for 6 after electing to bat first on what had, until today, looked a tricky track to bat on.

Opener Stephan Baard's knock of 90 from 130 balls, took the home side to 188 for 5 before he lost his off stump to Nikil Dutta, who together with Saad bin Zafar was the pick of Canada's bowlers, the spinners taking 2-38 and 2-32 respectively. The Canadian seamers did not fare so well, however and Jacobs' persistence with pace was difficult to explain as Craig Williams and JJ Smit got stuck into the Canadian quicks at the death, the final five overs going for 59 runs. Smit would eventually hole out for a more than handy cameo of 35 off 23, whilst Williams finished unbeaten on 65 from 59.

Canada's reply started well enough. Rodrigo Thomas was slow to start, building cautious partnerships with Navneet Dhaliwal and Nitish Kumar to take them to 54 for 1 but when Erasmus opted to take the pace off the ball, bringing himself on to bowl what he describes as some "filthy off-spin" in partnership with left-arm spinner Bernhard Scholtz, the Canada innings stuttered and then folded. Thomas chipped a leading edge back to Erasmus, and the middle order wilted under the pressure. Captain Davy Jacobs hung around to make 23 off 30 but the required rate kept ticking up, and by the time he slapped Frylinck to Erasmus who took yet another screamer at short cover, the game was as good as gone with 117 on the board and just three wickets and less than 20 overs remaining. Dilon Heylinger struck some defiant blows to make an unbeaten 29, but by then even the Canada tent could barely muster a cheer. Scholtz would pin Ergana in front in the 43rd over to put the visitors out of their misery, still 98 runs adrift.

The loss leaves Canada at the bottom of the table with a net run rate deficit of -1.4, realistically needing two wins and some luck from their remaining two games to avoid relegation the the CWC Challenge Leagues. They will likely need to pass Hong Kong to avoid that fate, whose loss to Oman today means they are still far from safe.

Asked to bat after losing the toss, Hong Kong's innings took a body blow when tournament lead-scorer Anshuman Rath nicked off to long-time tormentor Bilal Khan in the third over. Jamie Atkison ground out a 56-ball 19 but watched two wickets fall too the Omani pace contingent at the other end before himself being trapped LBW by legspinner Khawar Ali to leave Hong Kong under the pump at 47-4. Babar Hayat and Tanwir Afzal dug in to add 62 for the 5th wicket, but Afzal became Bilal's second victim caught at slip by Maqsood, and Hayat's dismissal in the 43rd, caught at long on off Ali for 56 with the score on 149, meant the much-needed acceleration never came. In the event, Hong Kong's innings would be cut short in the 48th over, when last recognised batsman Scott McKechnie was run out due in large part to the efforts of Ehsan Khan, who himself did not survive the over, Bilal claiming the last two wickets to finish with 4-30 in 9 and, barring an absurdly improbable turn of events, secure ODI status for Oman.

Papua New Guinea took the brave decision to bat first after winning the toss, and tournament lead wicket-taker Ali Khan swiftly made them regret it. In his opening spell he added the scalps of Tony Ura, Ses Bau and Assad Vala to his sagging belt, taking his tally to 12 in three games. Steven Taylor found his first wicket of the tour when he brought Charles Amini's 22-ball belaboured vigil to an end, finding the edge and the gloves to leave PNG in a shambles at 35-4.

It might easily have been 35 for 5 or six as both Lega Siaka and Chad Soper were reprieved early, and the pair managed to add another 26 for the 5th wicket before Karima Gore, a late addition to the squad, took the first and second of his four wickets. Siaka's 32 would be the day's best score for PNG as Gore and Patel ran through the tail, though Kiplin Doriga mustered some resistance, weathering Khan's second spell as the US sought to kill off the innings. His 30 has enough to see his side well clear of the 100-mark, but Gore and Timil Patel wrapped up the tail in relatively quick time and 127 was never likely to trouble the Americans.

Patel and Marshall added 49 without loss in the mini-session before lunch, and though the Papuans stuck admirably to their impossible task neither looked unduly troubled. After the break they came out swinging, They needed just 8 more overs to blitz through the remaining 79 runs, Patel smashing 22 off the hapless Siaka in the 19th as the USA cruised home with more than 30 overs to spare.

The win leaves Papua New Guinea in a nigh-inescapable net run rate hole, likely needing two wins or to clinch a top-four finish. They face bottom-placed Canada tomorrow, who are in a still worse position. The loser will almost certainly be eliminated from contention, though Hong Kong, who face a rampant American side tomorrow, are also in danger. Should Canada beat PNG, Oman will secure their ODI status tomorrow regardless of the result of their match against Namibia, a win would see them safely home in either case, whilst the hosts could secure their place with a win should the Papuans lose. In principal, however, no team is safe nor is any definitively out as we head into the penultimate round of the critical group stage of this final World Cricket League tournament.

Remaining Games:

Wednesday, 24 April - PNG v Canada, Wanderers; Namibia v Oman, WAP; Hong Kong v USA, Trustco UNITED

Friday, 26 April - Canada v USA, Wanderers; Namibia v Hong Kong, WAP; PNG v Oman, Trustco UNITED

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