Canada beat PNG to keep hopes of qualification alive

Canada recorded their first win of the WCL Division 2 tournament, beating Papua New Guinea by 3 wickets with 15.4 overs to spare. They made heavy weather of it at times, letting PNG make 154 after having them 7 wickets down with only 70 on the board. In reply Canada lost early wickets but a captain’s innings of 52 from Davy Jacobs saw them to a crucial win.

They made the best possible start as Eranga had PNG’s top bat Ura lbw with the first ball of the match. Heyliger took two wickets as PNG slumped to 15/3. Dutta came into the attack to bowl the 11th over, and took two wickets – 33/5. The 6th wicket went to Heyliger again, then Saad Bin Zafar struck. At  70/7 Canada had PNG on the ropes but failed to administer the knock out blow.  Vala and Kila put on 43, before Gunasekera broke the partnership- 113/8. Vala found another willing partner in Pokana who helped him put on 35 before being caught behind. With 9 wickets down, Vala (76) hit out, hitting Heyliger for a six but then gifting him his 4th wicket, lofting an easy catch to long on. Their final total of 154 owed much to the tail, the last three wickets contributing more than half the total. Heyliger took 4/41, Eranga 2/23 and Dutta 2/32.

Net run rate was clearly under consideration as Canada started their reply. Dhaliwal took 16 from 9 balls before he was caught behind, but two further wickets (Gunasekera and Kumar) meant that victory at any cost became a priority as Canada fell to 42/3 in the 6th over.  Ravinderpal Singh, making his first appearance of the tournament, and Rodrigo Thomas brought up the fifty in the 9th over but Thomas was lbw for 17 shortly afterwards. Singh and Jacobs looked comfortable, pushing singles and hitting the bad ball but then Singh was bowled- 77-5. Adhihetty joined Jacobs, and Canada reached three figures in the 22nd over. The score had reached 125 before Adhihetty went down the wicket and was beaten- he was bowled but would have been stumped if the ball had not hit the wickets; he had made a useful 22. Nikhil Dutta came in to join Jacobs but was dismissed with 20 still needed. Heyliger hit three boundaries to assuage any fears, and Canada won with 15.5 overs to spare. Canada had put much faith in Davy Jacob’s ability and experience, and his unbeaten 52 was exactly what was needed.

Wins for Oman and USA mean they are guaranteed qualification and ODI status prior to their final matches.

Namibia are in third place on four points and will need to beat Hong Kong to guarantee qualification, although they hold a big net run rate advantage. Canada, Hong Kong and PNG will go into the final day tied on 2 points. Canada are ahead of PNG on net run rate (-0.74 vs -1.52). Hong Kong lost to USA but will be in 4th place on net run rate (-0.53).

Friday’s final round robin match against their oldest opponent, the USA will decide Canada’s fate – WCL league 2, or relegation to Division 3. USA have assured qualification and ODI status with a win over Hong Kong today.  Hong Kong play Namibia and PNG play Oman. Only one of the three can qualify in 4th, so even if Canada win, they may depend on net run rate if either of the other two also win. The game will be live streamed on USA cricket’s Youtube channel.

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