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Cricket news - Oman, Singapore win two in two

Aqib Ilyas guided Oman home versus Hong Kong with a mature hand of 37

Canada opened their T20 WC Qualifying campaign with a convincing win over Jersey on the third day of group play, while Oman handed Hong Kong their second defeat to go top of Group A. Meanwhile in Group B, Papua New Guinea and Singapore each recorded their second wins over Namibia and Bermuda respectively to draw level with the Netherlands on two wins from two matches.

Canada racked up a daunting total of 176-5 thanks in large part to a blistering 83 off 36 from Nitish Kumar before rolling the Channel Islanders for just 123 in 17 overs to complete a 53-run win. Skipper Navneet Dhaliwal drove the early scoring after being invited to bat first by Jersey, putting on a half-century opening stand with the more subdued Rodrigo Thomas before both were dismissed in the space of three balls; Thomas was clean bowled by Julius Sumerauer and Dhaliwal caught off Ben Ward for a 26-ball 36. This only succeeded in bringing Kumar to the crease however, and over the next ten overs, he would add 109 runs with support from Nick Kirton and Ravi Singh; finally stumped off Chuggy Perchard nine balls before the break.

The 177-run target would prove well beyond the Jersey batting unit. A hostile opening burst from the new ball pair of Jeremy Gordon and Dilon Heyliger ensured the Jersey top order was removed early, before Nick Greenwood was well caught by Kumar off Nikil Dutta off the first ball after the powerplay to reduce them to 53-4. Jonty Jenner provided the only real resistance, hitting a brisk half-century from number four to take the Islanders into triple figures, before being caught off Dhaliwal for 56 from 32 in the 14th over with the score on 117. From there on, the tail rapidly capitulated to hand Canada an opening win. A strong start for the North American side in what already looks like a very open Group A.

Oman lived up to their tag of "thinking punter's favourites" to top the group with a comfortable win over Hong Kong in the afternoon. An intimidating collective display from the Omani bowlers held Hong Kong to just 102 from their 20 overs, before Aqib Ilyas guided them home inside 18 overs with a composed 37 from number three. A controlled new-ball display from the left-right seam pair of Bilal Khan and Fayyaz Butt gave up just two boundaries in the powerplay and yielded the wicket of Hong Kong skipper Aizaz Khan, inside-edging Butt onto the stumps in the fourth over.

Nizakat Khan struggled to force the pace as the Omani spin section looked to smother the scoring, but by the time he was adroitly stumped for 31 in the 11th over, Hong Kong had lost two further wickets and added just 22 more runs. From then on, it was largely one-way traffic; Ali bagging two more scalps and Aamir Kaleem taking three wickets for the cost of just 14 runs as the Hong Kong tail scraped together another 46 runs before number 11 Kyle Christie was eventually run out on the final ball with just 102 on the board. That was never likely to be enough, though Hong Kong would repeatedly string one or two good overs together.

Christie being particularly parsimonious in giving up just 8 runs from his three overs, inevitably a boundary ball would follow to relieve the pressure. Jatinder Singh would take 12 runs off his first four deliveries to put Oman well ahead of the required rate in the first over, and there they would remain. Khawar Ali's dismissal in the sixth over would prompt a brief period where Hong Kong threatened to stage a fightback - Jatinder and Aamir Kaleem falling in consecutive overs. However, Ilyas was joined by skipper Zeeshan Maqsood to close out a comfortable seven-wicket win.

Across in Dubai, Papua New Guinea made light work of an underperforming Namibia side to post their second win and go top of Group B on net run rate. Tony Ura and Asad Vala continued where they left off yesterday, following up their unbroken 97-run partnership against Bermuda, with a 125-run stand for the first wicket before both falling to Chisti Viljoen in the 13th over, setting the platform for an imposing 197-run total. Meanwhile, Namibia's Gerhard Erasmus cycled fruitlessly through his bowlers, bowling his full quota of part time off-spin without reward; Jan Frylinck's 3-18 from two overs the best of the bowling. Namibia stumbled out of the gate in reply, losing three wickets in the powerplay and Erasmus himself falling a ball later, and from 46-4 the innings never really recovered. Viljoen's 21-ball 17 would be the top score as Vala led the way with the ball, taking 3-19 as Namibia were all out in the 18th for just 116.

After a dream start to their campaign, turning over favourites Scotland in their opening match, Singapore survived a scare against the unfancied Bermuda in their second match to keep pace at the top of the table. Navin Param's unbeaten 72 off 41 balls from number six would prove the day's decisive innings, seeing Singapore overhaul Bermuda's 149-run total with three balls to spare. Earlier, it had looked like the veteran Janeiro Tucker's counterattcking half-century for Bermuda would prove a match-winning knock. The 22-year veteran of international cricket (having made his debut at the 1997 ICC Trophy) came in at five, with his side on the ropes at 29-3 in the 8th over, and wrested the initiative from Singapore with an unbeaten 34-ball 50.

Kamau Leverock, batting down at eight, provided some further late impetus with a 6-ball 18 as the islanders set Singapore a tricky target of 150. When the in-form Surendran Chandramohan was trapped LBW by George O'Brien on the third ball of the Singapore reply, it looked as though their fortunes might be changing. With the run rate at barely 5 an over during the powerplay, the asking rate would continue to climb, and when Tucker held a fine return catch to remove Tim David with just 41 on the board, the game looked to be Bermuda's to lose. Param would turn the tables in style, however, adding 79 for the fifth wicket in an accelerating partnership with Manpreet Singh to take Singapore to within 30 runs of victory with three overs to go, and the latter's stumping off Dion Stovell on the first ball of the 18th did nothing to slow the flow of runs. Janak Prakash joined Param for the final stretch to extend Singapore's remarkable run with yet another win.

Singapore can take a well-earned day off tomorrow as they await their next match against the Netherlands on Tuesday, whilst Bermuda and Kenya will look to get their first points on the board when they meet tomorrow. The day's other Group B clash will see Scotland looking to reassert themselves against Papua New Guinea, whilst over in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong will be looking for their first points against hosts UAE. Meanwhile, Ireland will return to action as they take on Oman in the afternoon, before Canada face off against Nigeria under lights in the evening.

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