Canada firmed their case for promotion to Division Two by bouncing back from Friday's shock loss to Malaysia to thump USA by 96 runs at Kyambogo Oval.
USA opted to put Canada in, persuaded by overcast conditions but by the time the first ball was bowled the sun had come out and the seamers found little assistance from the pitch. Batsman Dhanuka Pathirana made the most of favourable conditions, top-scoring with 87 off 94 balls, a remarkable innings in which he took 21 balls to get off the mark.
Pathirana's innings pushed Canada to 256 for 8. The foundation for that total was built by captain Nitish Kumar and 17-year old Bhavindu Adhihetty, who added 74 for the first wicket. But USA left-arm spinner Nosthush Kenjige broke the stand, having Kumar caught at backward point for 30 in the 16th over and then bowled Navneet Dhaliwal for 3 in the 18th to wrap up a wicket-maiden.
Pathirana and Adhihetty - who made his first half-century for Canada - took the team past the wobble but their partnership - 64 runs in 14.4 overs - was broken by left-arm spinning allrounder Mrunal Patel. It was the first of his three wickets, the third of particular importance since he toppled the explosive Rizwan Cheema for a second-ball duck. Canada were 157 for 5 with the best part of 12 overs left.
USA had the momentum, but they let it slip as a result of a rather poor fielding effort. They leaked 97 runs in the last 11 overs including two missed chances off Pathirana. The first, to long-off on 71, resulted in a four when Akeem Dodson came in off the rope only to have the ball go over his head and bounce over the rope. Pathirana was eventually dismissed lbw attempting a switch hit in the 46th over but not before he was gifted a six the previous ball when Nicholas Standford fumbled a catch over the boundary at deep extra cover.
USA's chase was doomed from the start when captain Steven Taylor fell on the third ball, beaten for pace attempting an expansive drive against Satsimranjit Dhindsa. Fellow opener Akeem Dodson ran himself out for 5 in the next over, looking for a risky single to mid-off that was denied by a direct hit from Jimmy Hansra, to make it 6 for 2.
Ibrahim Khaleel and Camilus Alexander kept USA afloat with a half-century stand but Cheema made up for his first-innings duck with three wickets in eight balls to reduce USA to 61 for 5 and they never recovered, eventually being bowled out for 160. Canada now have a 3-1 record in the tournament and its best net run-rate as well. A return to Division Two beckons.
Oman moved one step closer to their third consecutive promotion with a dominant five-wicket win over Singapore in Entebbe. After Singapore were sent in to bat on a sticky wicket, left-arm pacer Bilal Khan took two wickets with the new ball, before returning to clean up the tail and finish with 5 for 19 as Singapore were bowled out for 100 in 37.1 overs.
After Bilal's opening burst, Ajay Lalcheta struck a key blow when he had Arjun Mutreja stumped for 4, a day after the Singapore batsman had scored a match-winning century against USA. Singapore recovered briefly through their captain Chetan Suryawanshi's 30, and his 48-run fourth-wicket stand with Anish Paraam, who top-scored with 34. But Paraam's dismissal to medium pacer Mohammad Nadeem triggered a collapse as Singapore lost their last seven wickets for 17 runs.
Oman stumbled out of the gate in reply, with both openers dismissed without scoring. But Lalcheta's 37, and his 63-run partnership with his captain Sultan Ahmed (32) got Oman back on course. Aqib Ilyas then struck five boundaries in a rapid 22 not out, off 15 balls, to record victory with 25.4 overs to spare, giving Oman a dramatic net run rate boost.
Uganda kept their slim promotion hopes alive with a four-wicket win over Malaysia at Lugogo Stadium. Offspinning allrounder Mohammed Irfan (108*) blazed a century off 67 balls to speed Uganda past the target of 190 in 36.2 overs. Irfan, whose nickname is "Afridi" in local circles and is a nephew of the former Pakistan captain, impersonated his uncle by striking seven fours and 10 sixes in his knock.
Promotion and relegation standings
The final day of round-robin matches begins on Monday. Canada play Singapore at Kyambogo while Oman play Malaysia at Lugogo. Wins for Canada and Oman will guarantee promotion while they can still advance in spite of losses depending on each team's net run-rate. Singapore would need a sizable win over Canada, to move into one of the top two slots via net run-rate. A loss would not only cost them a shot at promotion but could also see them relegated depending on other results.
Uganda play USA at Entebbe with the hosts needing a win by a significant margin and then hope for heavy losses for either Canada or Oman to have a shot at promotion. A loss for Uganda would see them fall behind USA on net run-rate and put them at risk of relegation. USA and Malaysia both require wins to avoid relegation but are out of the race for promotion.