Uganda crush Denmark; Oman extend Kenya dominance
Left-arm seamer Charles Waiswa produced a fantastic spell with the old ball, polishing off the last four Denmark wickets in the space of 13 deliveries to set up a five-wicket win for Uganda. Arnold Otwani followed with a classy 88 in the chase of 166 to help Uganda secure an early net run-rate advantage over the tournament field.
Denmark got off to a strong start after winning the toss and choosing to bat. Bilal Hassun struggled with his lines against the left-right combo of Freddie Klokker and Hamid Shah in his three-over spell that went for 25 runs as Denmark reached 45 for 0.
Riazat Ali Shah made the initial breakthrough coming on at first change, getting both openers to prod edges behind to Man of the Match Otwani. The left-right spin combo of Irfan Afridi and Henry Ssenyondo put the brakes on Denmark's scoring in a three-maiden sequence from the 16th through 18th. The pressure resulted in Afridi claiming the wicket of Taranjit Bharaj, and Ssenyondo struck twice to reduce Denmark to 82 for 5.
Denmark rebuilt through a 48-run stand between Saif Ahmad and Henriksen, then later another 28-run partnership between Mads and his brother Jonas. However, Waiswa ran through the tail in his second spell, ending with 4 for 25 and leaving Denmark at least 40 runs below the par score.
Otwani had been dropped after Uganda's debacle on home soil at WCL Division Three last year and missed the team's promotion run in Malaysia this past April but vindicated his recall to the squad with a sensational innings. Overcoming the early loss of his captain Roger Mukasa, Otwani cut through point then drove over cover for back-to-back fours to get off the mark.
Otwani struck six boundaries in the space of eight balls across the seventh and eighth overs to leave Denmark reeling. A sweep behind square for his tenth boundary brought up his fifty off 46 balls, before he began peppering the gap between backward point and short third man for another flurry of fours.
Otwani fell 12 short of his ton trying to pierce the gap again, caught at short third man. But by that stage, Uganda needed just 36 off the last 21 overs. Riazat dashed any hopes of a Denmark rally by striking his second and third balls down the ground for four, his unbeaten 29 taking Denmark home with 82 balls remaining.
Oman's dominance over Kenya from February at Division Two in Namibia continued on Friday, as the WCL Division Three hosts scored a commanding five-wicket win at the Oman Cricket Academy in Al Amerat.
Oman had swept Kenya in a pair of matches this past February and the visitors were no match for the home side on this occasion either, slipping to 8 for 3 in the Powerplay before eventually succumbing for 164.
Bilal Khan, who took a five-for the last time these two teams played, struck on the fifth ball of the match by beating Alex Obanda for pace and knocking back his stumps for a duck. Kenya also struggled with Kaleemullah's height and bounce as a series of maidens built pressure, resulting in another wicket for Bilal. Jatinder Singh took his second catch in the slips in the following over as Kaleemullah followed up Bilal's early strikes to get Dhiren Gondaria for the first of his four wickets.
Kenya grinded their way through much of the rest of the innings, valiantly lasting until the 50th over.
Oman's chase got off to a typically fiery start behind Aqib Ilyas, who stroked five boundaries in his 22 off 20 balls before falling leg before to Nelson Odhiambo. Fellow opener Jatinder grinded out 33 off 49 balls before he was dismissed by Bhudia's spin, opening the door for captain Zeeshan Maqsood to steer the rest of the chase.
Despite needing just 31 more to win over the final 18 overs and six wickets in hand, Oman took a peculiarly cautious approach in a format where the net run-rate tiebreaker can be crucial by the final day. They took until the 43rd over when Maqsood, who in the past has had a reputation for rapid scoring as an opening batsman, finally brought up his half-century off 93 balls, ending the match with his fifth boundary.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna