United States dominates Papua New Guinea to secure first place at CWC Qualifier Play-off.
With a decisive 113-run victory over Papua New Guinea at Wanderers on the sixth day of play in Windhoek, the United States secured first place at the CWC Qualifier Play-off, relegating the Papuans to the Challenge Leagues and guaranteeing them a wooden spoon that would result in the loss of their ODI status for the upcoming cycle. The UAE joined the Americans at the summit of the standings with six points after the Emiratis defeated when the hosts Namibia falls short in the United States, scoring 28 runs to earn their third victory.
In what at first glance appeared to be a below-average total of 235-7, returning Steven Taylor led the way for the United States at the head of the list with a 133-ball 81. Vice-skipper Aaron Jones also made a half-century contribution. Before Gajanand Singh ended Asad Vala’s resistance and ran through the Barramundis’ tail with a session of 4-15 to secure a three-figure victory, Ali Khan, however, claimed three straight wickets in his opening spell to put the Barramundis on the back foot.
The game at the United States turned out to be a more closely contested contest, but the hosts were left regretting their choice to bat first as the UAE set a difficult 268-run target on what appeared to be a more typical United States wicket. Vritya Aravind’s measured 93* off 118 provided stability, and Asif Khan’s 86-ball 96 provided late acceleration. The middle order struggled to read the pitch as the Emirates strangled the scoring, and after captain Erasmus left with his side barely halfway to the target, regular wicket would keep his side behind the chase. Despite some defiant late hitting from Ruben Trumpelmann, the hosts would be bowled out 28 runs short. Shaun Fouche and Michale van Lingen set a strong foundation with an 80-run stand for the second wicket.
Following the powerplay, Aravind entered the wicket as Muhammad Waseem was out LBW to Karl Birkenstock’s second delivery following a 49-run opening partnership with Aryan Lakra. The scoring slowed to a standstill after Lakra managed to glove a wide delivery down leg onto his stumps after six overs. With the score at 75, Berhard Scholtz removed Rameez Shazad’s outside edge after just five runs were still needed.
However, Aravind and Asif Khan took their time, and eventually, the runs started flowing. Khan began to bat seriously after the two put up a century partnership and appeared to be on track for another hundred of his own when Aravind sent him back to his fate in the 47th over, four runs short of his tonne. Aravind would also not achieve the milestone because Erasmus entered the game at the end and successfully spiked the Emirati weapons. He clean bowled Rohan Mustafa in the final over to help limit the UAE to 267-5, with Aravind unbeaten on 93 from 118.
Despite the early loss of Niko Davin, who drove Sharma low to Waseem at mid-off, Namibia appeared to be in a secure position. By the 17th over, Van Lingen and Fouche had helped the hosts reach 85 without further damage, but they both died quickly. Playing around a Meiyappan googly, Fouche dropped three shies of the fifty-run mark. Had Aravind not spilled a substantial-top edge while moving forward to save Erasmus two balls later, Meiyappan might have had another. However, the wicket did not take long to appear; with the first delivery of the 18th over, van Lingen smacked a full toss back to Mustafa, and the Emiratis went on the offensive.
USA dominates PNG in a one-sided ODI victory
The asking rate steadily increased as the home captain gave in to mounting pressure in the 32nd over and skillfully stranded off Aayan for 30, missing a paddle sweep. Although Pikky Ya France and Birkenstock put up a stubborn 30-run partnership for the seventh wicket, they could never keep up with the asking rate, which had reached nine by the time Mustafa dismissed Ya France after Sharma took a superb diving catch in the deep. With three straight boundaries off Siddique in the 46th over, including two enormous sixes over long-on, Trumpelmann delivered some late fireworks but eventually fell to Zahoor for a 15-ball 28. Zahoor took Ben Shikongo’s off stump with eight balls remaining to terminate Namibia’s chances of qualifying. Although Bernhard Scholtz put a couple of runs in before the finish, the outcome was already apparent.
The match at Wanderers had already ended by that point, as had PNG’s tenure as an ODI country. When Sushant Modani and Saiteja Mukkamalla lost their bases while the USA was in the powerplay early in the first inning, Modani ran out in the sixth inning looking for a second run, and Taylor lost interest after two steps. When Mukkamalla flicked Semo Kamea straight to a backward square in the last over, the USA appeared to be losing the game. When Monank Patel produced a leading edge to Sese Bau at a short-on position with the final delivery of the 18th, there were only 69 runs on the scoreboard.
A legal opportunity at deep square off Bau poured over the rope as PNG continued to damage their image as a fielding side. Still, Taylor used multiple reprieves, falling twice at 21 and again just before reaching his half-century. He led the States to 158-3 in 40 overs with Jones before being bowled out by Vala for LBW. After leading the USA to within six overs of 200 with a 77-ball 65, Jones was dismissed after failing to complete a slog cut to Hekure. Before getting caught in front while attempting to sweep a giant ball from Kamea, Jessy Singh made a fun appearance. However, the 235 on the board at the interval would be much higher than PNG.
In his first stint, Ali Khan struck three times: he edged Tony Ura with a rising short ball after Ura had hit him for a third boundary; he then allowed Sese Bau to stretch on in the next over; and in his fourth, Kipling Doriga was caught in front. The prospects of PNG once again fell on Vala after Hiri Hiri’s blazing 8 off 32 dropped the Barramundis further behind the pace before spooning Nisarg Patel down long off’s throat.
With the score still in the double digits, Riley Hekure kept his captain company for an additional six overs before losing his off stump and returning to Gajanand. Gaudi Toka only lasted 14 deliveries before being dismissed by Nisarg with Nelson on the scoreboard. Vala appeared to be holding on with the tail, but PNG’s hopes were dashed when he was out LBW to Gajanand for 42 after missing a catch on the first delivery of the 34th over. With 15 overs and 114 runs remaining, Soper clean bowled, swiped across the line, and John Kariko nicked his first delivery to the keeper to end the game.
Due to the loss, PNG is assured of receiving the wooden spoon, and their match against Canada in the final round will be their last ODI for at least four years. On the other hand, the USA is in a compelling situation at the top of the standings thanks to the three-figure margin of victory, a net run rate of +.89, and a significant triumph over the UAE, their closest competitor. Suppose Jersey can defeat the Americans at Wanderers and maintain their chances of earning ODI status heading into the final day on Wednesday. In that case, they can catch up to their neighbors when they play the hosts on Tuesday in the United States. Read more cricket updates here at Rajabets.