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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Oman, USA secure promotion to Division Three

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'Confident we will give it back to the US' - Lalcheta (2:12)

Oman Captain Ajay Lalcheta reflects on a job well done against Denmark and looks forwards to facing USA (2:12)

Khawar Ali produced a brilliant all-round performance, top-scoring with 74 in Oman's total of 189 before taking 5 for 37 to help his side beat Denmark by 43 runs in a de facto semi-final at Severn Cricket Field. The win helped Oman finish at the top of the WCL Division Four round-robin points table and secure promotion to WCL Division Three while the loss kept Denmark out of the top two, finishing third behind USA due to the net run rate tiebreaker despite being level on points.

Denmark were on top early after sending Oman in to bat, reducing them to 62 for 5 as medium pacer Basit Raja ripped through Khawar's batting partners at the top of the order, taking three wickets in his opening spell. Khawar stuck out the early danger period though and found a willing ally in captain Ajay Lalcheta. The pair put on 97 for the sixth wicket to keep Oman afloat. Lalcheta eventually finished with 62 as the pair accounted for 72 percent of Oman's runs.

Just as he did against USA, Aftab Ahmed had a major impact with a late spell, taking three of his four wickets from the 37th over on beginning with Khawar. Aftab claimed the key scalp of Amir Ali next to work into Oman's tail and finished off his spell claiming Lalcheta as the ninth wicket before Raja came back to wrap up the innings in 46.4 overs by removing Munis Ansari.

Aftab got Denmark's chase off to a dashing start, striking three fours and two sixes in his 27 off 14 balls picking out opening swing bowler Rajeshkumar Ranpura for special punishment. When he fell to Lalcheta's spin in the fourth over Denmark had reached 37 in just 21 balls.

Saif Ahmad continued the assault on Ranpura, who conceded 51 in four overs opening the bowling, as he made 31 off 21 balls including six fours and by the second ball of the ninth over Denmark reached 68 for 1. Amir, who had replaced Ranpura to start the ninth, swung momentum Oman's way with a double-strike, bowling Saif and then claiming Freddie Klokker edged behind first ball.

With the exception of the final over, Lalcheta then used spin exclusively throughout the rest of the match to near perfection. Denmark reached 91 for 3 in 18 overs when drinks were taken and on resumption, Khawar was brought on to bowl his part-time legspin. The move proved to be a masterstroke as Khawar struck with his first two balls, trapping Zameer Khan for 8 before Yasir Iqbal was caught behind.

The wickets brought Amjad Khan to the crease and Denmark's stand-in captain played a valiant knock, eventually finishing unbeaten on 32. But he could not find a partner to see him through as Khawar continued to whittle away at the other end. Hamid Shah fell in the 23rd for 19 before Anders Bulow was bowled for 10.

Zeeshan Maqsood bowled a miserly spell of left-arm spin opposite Khawar, conceding just 14 runs in his first nine overs while bowling four maidens. He was finally rewarded off the first ball of his final over in the 32nd, winning a leg before appeal to dismiss Raja for 7 to make it 137 for 8. Khawar then struck off the last ball of the 33rd to complete his five-for, having Omar Hayat caught by Maqsood. Strike bowler Munis Ansari, who usually opens with the new ball, was then brought on for his first over of the day in the 34th and bowled Bashir Shah to end the match as Denmark ended all out for 146 in 34 overs.

Jersey defeated USA by one run at Wong Cricket Field, though the Americans gained promotion ahead of Denmark thanks to a superior net run rate while Jersey was relegated to Division Five in spite of the win. Jersey elected to bat first and raced away behind Nat Watkins, who recorded a half-century in 33 balls, to reach 94 for 0 in 17 overs.

Ambidextrous spinner Prashanth Nair, brought into the USA lineup for his first match of the tournament, struck with his very first ball in the 18th as Jersey captain Peter Gough pulled a half-tracker straight to Steven Taylor at short midwicket. It was the first of three wickets in consecutive overs for Nair as he followed Gough's dismissal with a sharp return catch to remove Luke Gallichan in the 20th before he teased Watkins into a false drive to cover, falling for 69 to make it 109 for 3.

Jersey slipped further to 124 for 4 before Jonty Jenner and Anthony Hawkins-Kay rebuilt their innings with an 82-run stand as Jersey appeared on their way to a 300-plus score at 205 for 4 in 38 overs with Jenner well set on 57. However, Jenner fell in controversial circumstances off the first legal ball of the 38th when he pulled a full toss off Timroy Allen to mid-on for a simple catch by Abdullah Syed. The ball appeared to be over waist height, but square leg umpire Kathy Cross deemed it a legal delivery giving USA a much-needed break. Jersey struggled to recover thereafter, only hitting one boundary across the next ten overs before being bowled out in the 49th over for 249.

USA had chased a target of 250 or higher only three times in history, but of higher priority was staying above Denmark on net run rate. USA made a cautious start to their chase and eventually slipped to 60 for 3 after Watkins spun out the top order to claim 3 for 35. Akeem Dodson and Alex Amsterdam continued the go slow approach as word filtered to the USA camp of Denmark's loss, altering USA's required target for promotion to 131. It was finally achieved in the 36th over and USA made it to the last drinks break at 136 for 3 in 37.

With promotion secured, USA accelerated to go for the outright win. Dodson was caught on the boundary for 16 but Amsterdam carried on to bring up his maiden century off 95 balls and put on a rapid 52-run stand with Allen. Amsterdam fell on the final ball of the 46th, leaving USA to get 50 off the last four overs. They took 17 in the 47th and another 19 off the 49th as Elmore Hutchinson hit two straight sixes off Rhys Palmer through the wind to take the equation from 18 off eight to six off the final six balls.

Charles Perchard bowled a brilliant final over, though USA opted for wild slogs instead of calmly pinching singles with five men still on the boundary, and four runs were left to get off the last ball. Hutchinson scuffed a drive into the ground to long-off for two, securing the win for Jersey. Perchard ended with 3 for 56, with all three wickets coming in the 48th and 50th overs.

Italy scored a consolation win over Bermuda by 25 runs at Wright Cricket Field, though the margin of defeat was small enough to allow Bermuda to stay in Division Four above Jersey on the net run rate tiebreaker. Italy made 228 for 8 after being sent in with all of their top eight crossing double-figures but none reaching 50 as opener Manpreet Singh top-scored with 45. Italy were 153 for 6 in 41 overs before Joy Perera and Fida Hussain added 60 for the seventh wicket in the next seven overs to get Italy to a defendable total.

Bermuda needed to chase the target in 14.4 overs to pass USA on net run rate. Openers Dean Minors and Kamau Leverock attacked briefly at the start of the chase but both fell to Carl Sandri's offspin to make it 35 for 2 in seven overs and from there Bermuda batted to ensure they stayed above Jersey on net run rate, regardless of the match result.

The net runs margin between a Jersey win and a Bermuda loss could be no more than 149 runs. Once Bermuda passed 79, they were safe from relegation assuming a Jersey one-run win. Bermuda eventually finished on 203 for 9 as Tre Manders top-scored with 37 while medium pacer Charanjeet Singh took 4 for 24.