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On day two of the ICC Americas WCL Division Two Championship, Bahamas virtually ensured they would claim the title and promotion to the Americas Division One tournament later in the year, when they beat a spirited Panama by six wickets.
Strong favourites at the outset, Bahamas were made to work hard by the organised Panama outfit, and there were moments throughout the contest when Panama had a chance.
After electing to bat first at Snellen Park, Panama made a confident start and by the 32nd over were in a strong position at 141 for 3. Openers Soyab Chohan (30) and Nilesh Bhakta (37) added 52, and a total of 250 was on the cards. However the introduction of Jonathan Barry turned the innings around. With his second ball he removed Irfan Tarajia (27) and proceeded to wreck the middle and lower order, finishing with outstanding figures of 5 for 14 from four overs as Panama lost their last seven wickets for 13.
Still, Panama came out in determined fashion and grabbed a wicket with the first ball of the run chase. But Marc Taylor took the game away from Panama with a swashbuckling 52 off 36 balls. Howard Roye weighed in with 33 as Bahamas raced home in just 18 overs.
On the neighbouring Owru Kul ground, hosts Suriname revived their challenge with a 112-run victory over the Turks and Caicos Islands. However, after choosing to bat first, it looked as though the Turks and Caicos team were heading for the points when they reduced Suriname to 106 for 7 after 22 overs.
Wayne Williams spun Suriname into deep trouble with an impressive 10-over spell which brought 5 for 40. With their team in trouble two Surinamese teenagers, Douglas Charles and Arun Gokoel, batted with enormous maturity and tenacity to add a 115 for the eighth wicket. Their efforts lifted Suriname to 249 for 8, but Turks and Caicos didn’t go down without a fight.
While Donavan Matthew was at the crease the game was in the balance. However, with his dismissal for a fine run-a-ball 73, legspinner Troy Dudnauth stepped into the spotlight and mystified the remainder of the batting, taking 4 for 29 to give.
The final round of fixtures has Suriname taking on Bahamas, while Panama will play the Turks & Caicos Islands next door at Owru Kul. Suriname will need an extraordinarily comprehensive win to have any chance of overtaking the Bahamas on net run rate, and will also be hoping for a Turks & Caicos win over Panama, which would give the hosts second place no matter what their result against Bahamas.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.