<
>

Cheema's all-round show helps Canada sink Oman

Canada continued their hot start to Division Three on Wednesday with an 83-run win over Oman at Lugogo Stadium. One day after clubbing 91 off 44 balls, Rizwan Cheema claimed his second-straight Man-of-the-Match award after giving Canada a late surge to 274 for 9 with 42 off 25 balls. Cheema then returned to break the back of the Oman chase with a double-wicket over in the 27th, snaring Naseem Khushi for 22 before trapping Amir Ali leg before for 1 to make it 148 for 7, forcing Oman to subside for 191.

Though Cheema received the chief plaudits, Canada's performance was a consummate team effort. Six players passed 30 in the Canada innings, though none made more than the 44 that teenage opener Bhavindu Adhihetty, who teamed with captain Nitish Kumar for a 77-run opening stand after losing the toss, scored. Oman threatened to contain Canada to a modest total considering Lugogo's short boundaries when Cheema was dismissed in the 42nd over to make it 202 for 7, but Hamza Tariq (34 off 22) and Nikhil Dutta (41 off 34) partnered for a 72-run stand for the eighth wicket before each fell off the final two balls of the innings to Mohammad Nadeem.

Wickets fell regularly early in Oman's chase as four of their top five fell for single digits, but Zeeshan Maqsood motored on in counterattack-mode with 63 off 62 balls. Oman were well ahead of the required run rate with Maqsood in the middle, but he fell to Satsimranjit Dhindsa in the 22nd to make it 107 for 5, ending a 50-run stand with Ajay Lalcheta. Cheema's double-strike, a short time later, left Lalcheta running out of partners and he eventually fell for 39 to Kumar, middling a sweep to backward square leg for the eighth wicket to snuff out Oman's hopes of victory.

United States of America bounced back from their opening day loss to Oman with a resounding six-wicket win over Malaysia at Kyambogo Oval. Captain Steven Taylor received Man-of-the-Match honors in recognition of USA's stifling bowling effort in which he finished with 2 for 12 in 9.5 overs. Opening medium pacer Ali Khan was almost as miserly in taking 2 for 7 in five overs while legspinner Timil Patel's 3 for 36 triggered a middle-order collapse that saw Malaysia go from 90 for 4 to 117 all out.

USA's quick bowling rate meant they batted 14 overs before lunch to reach 51 for 1. Taylor fell for 25 to make it 60 for 2 in the first over after play resumed, slog sweeping to deep square leg in an effort to improve the team's net run-rate. Power hitters Timroy Allen and Elmore Hutchinson were both promoted up the order with the same intent in mind, but each fell slogging for 1 and 3 respectively.

Ibrahim Khaleel and Camilus Alexander calmly knocked off the rest of the runs in an unbroken 51-run fifth-wicket stand that helped USA achieve victory with 21.5 overs to spare. Khaleel top-scored for the second day in a row, ending unbeaten on 49.

Uganda defeated Singapore by 66 runs at Entebbe to even up both teams' records at 1-1. Singapore's chase of Uganda's 217 for 9 was thrown off course in the 29th over when first-day Man of the Match Anish Paraam was caught behind off Mohammed Irfan for 20 just after helping his team move past hundred. Irfan continued to burrow through the middle and lower order to finish with 5 for 38 as Singapore were bowled out for 151 in 44 overs.

Opener Hamu Kayondo helped set up a defendable total for Uganda with 41, the first of three scores in the 40s for Uganda. The Uganda innings was crawling at just above three per over through the 31st until Shahzad Ukani (46 off 51) and wicketkeeper Arnold Otwani (47 off 46) combined for a comparatively speedy 86-run stand in 77 balls to help set a target well out of reach for Singapore.

Thursday is a scheduled off day at the tournament before play resumes on Friday. Canada will look to maintain their unbeaten record against winless Malaysia at Entebbe while USA plays Singapore at Lugogo Stadium. Hosts Uganda takes on Oman at Kyambogo Oval. The winners of the last two contests will remain in strong contention for promotion berths but a loss could be crippling to their chances of advancing to Division Two.