Legspinner Timil Patel's second five-wicket haul of the tournament was followed by a devastating century by captain Steven Taylor as USA crushed Oman by eight wickets at Wright Cricket Field. The win put USA in the driver's seat for one of the two promotion berths available at WCL Division Four while Oman's promotion chances were dented not only by the loss, but also by USA's chase of 164 in only 29.3 overs, which wrecked Oman's net run rate.
Taylor sent Oman in to bat on an overcast morning, giving debutant fast bowler Ali Khan the new ball. Ali, contracted by Guyana Amazon Warriors, had missed the first two games due to a left hamstring injury and clearly was still not 100%. He started off with a wide on a shortened run-up of just 12 paces, but on the last ball of the first over, he bowled the dangerous Zeeshan Maqsood through the gate with an inswinger for a duck.
Khan laboured through the rest of his six-over opening spell but managed to nab Arun Poulose with a sharp return catch for 18, to leave Oman at 29 for 2. It was one of the few catches USA held on to over the next 12 overs; they missed six chances on the day.
Swapnil Khadye benefited most from USA's sloppy fielding, surviving a run-out chance and a drop at cover on 21 in the space of three deliveries, in the 20th over by Danial Ahmed. Khadye eventually added 46 runs with Khawar Ali before Elmore Hutchinson broke the partnership, getting Khawar to edge a drive to Akeem Dodson behind for 22. Khadye was bowled for 36, beaten in flight by Taylor's offspin.
With the middle order exposed, Timil was brought into the attack in the 32nd over and struck in the 34th, getting Zeeshan Siddiqui caught at deep midwicket for 22. Jatinder Singh and Amir Ali both fell attempting to slog Timil over midwicket only for Taylor to take brilliant catches at cover. Timil then trapped Ajay Lalcheta in front for his fourth wicket before Mohammad Nadeem's leading edge went to Taylor to complete the five-for. Alex Amsterdam had Munis Ansari caught on the boundary at long-on two balls into the final over to wrap up the innings.
The last time Taylor faced Oman at 2013 WCL Division Three in Bermuda, he was yorked for a second-ball duck by Ansari. On this occasion however, Taylor saw off the new ball with confidence and held firm after the early loss of Fahad Babar.
Taylor moved to a sedate 12 off 20 balls before showing his menace in the eighth over against Ansari. He flicked the bowler off his hips for six before angling an attempted yorker behind point for four more. Ansari finished wicketless for the third successive match in the tournament. Taylor drove Amir's offspin over mid-on for his seventh four in the 16th over and tapped a single to cover next ball to bring up his fifty in 44 balls.
Taylor took the same number of deliveries to move from a fifty to a century, but gave two chances along the way. The first was on 66, an inside-edge in left-arm spinner Lalcheta's first over that popped up off his pads in the region of silly point. Khadye bolted from behind the stumps and dived but the ball slipped through his gloves. On 90, Taylor edged Maqsood to Jatinder at slip but a sharp chance was spilled. One ball later, he slog-swept Maqsood over deep square leg to go to 96 and brought up three figures in the following over off Lalcheta with a crisp cover drive.
Jersey kept their slim promotion hopes alive with a three-wicket win at Severn Cricket Field over Italy, who fell squarely in the relegation zone after their third consecutive loss. Jersey's next match is against Bermuda on Wednesday where the winner will go to 2-2 and have an outside chance of promotion while the loser will fall to 1-3 and be in danger of relegation.
Sent into bat, Italy made 235 with the top score from Gian Meade who scored 61 after being promoted to No. 3, and added 66 with Alessandro Bonora for the third wicket.
Italy were on track for 250, having reached 211 for 5 by the 45th over with Carl Sandri and captain Damian Crowley well set. Anthony Hawkins-Kay struck a crucial blow in the 46th over, bowling Sandri for 40 off 32 balls to end a 91-run stand. It sparked a slide of six for 23 with the lower order collapsing. Offspinner Rhys Palmer plucked out two of those wickets and ended with 3 for 57 while Crowley fell for 58 in the 49th over to Ben Kynman, after which the pair got into a verbal exchange, one of several heated moments in the match.
Man-of-the-Match Nat Watkins opened Jersey's chase and top-scored with 77 off 101 balls. He added 64 with Luke Gallichan for the second wicket and then added another 75 for the third wicket with Jonty Jenner before he was stumped off Sandri. Will Harris' hit-wicket dismissal off Sandri's bowling nearly pulled Italy back into the game while Meade ran out Hawkins-Kay in the 39th to make it 167 for 5.
Italy then struck twice in the space of three balls to remove Jenner for 65 and Charles Perchard for a first-ball duck, leaving Jersey needing 44 to win off 40 balls. Corey Bisson calmly saw the side home with an unbeaten 42 off 31 balls, hitting the winning single with three balls to spare.
Bermuda got their first win of the tournament, beating Denmark by 38 runs at Wong Cricket Field to keep the tournament wide open heading into round four. This was Denmark's first loss in the tournament. Sent in to bat, Bermuda posted 221 for 7 and were boosted by the arrival of Delray Rawlins, who had missed the first two matches while training with the England Under-19 squad across the Atlantic. Rawlins made a top score of 39 batting at No. 3, sharing in a 71-run second-wicket stand with captain Oliver Pitcher.
Offspinner Bashir Shah took two wickets to stay tied with USA's Timil on the tournament wickets list, with 10 dismissals in three games. His double-strike removed Steven Bremar and Curt Stovell in consecutive overs and pinned Bermuda down at 161 for 7 in the 40th. Jordan DeSilva and Dennico Hollis, however, held Denmark's bowling at bay with a valuable 60-run unbroken stand for the eighth wicket. Denmark also paid for a sloppy effort in which they conceded 36 extras, including 26 wides.
Man-of-the-Match DeSilva and Cejay Outerbridge each took two wickets in the first six overs to leave Denmark floundering at 21 for 4 and Bermuda struck regularly thereafter. Denmark were struggling at 106 for 6 in the 31st over with the wicket of Zameer Khan who top-scored with 47.
Denmark then switched their strategy to batting out the 50 overs to limit the damage to their net run rate, following Oman's heavy loss. The last two wickets added 62 before DeSilva finished off the match, getting Basit Raja caught at long-on before bowling Yasir Iqbal one ball into the 49th over. DeSilva ended with returns of 4 for 23 as Denmark were bowled out for 183.
In the next round on Wednesday, a win for USA over Denmark could clinch promotion into Division Three with a game to spare in the league stage, while Oman are scheduled to take on winless Italy at Wong.