CWC CHALLENGE LEAGUE
Danish skipper Hamid Shah hit his first A-list ton. ©Getty
Hosts Canada further extended their lead at the top of Challenge League A with a landslide win over Qatar, while nearest rivals Singapore were edged out by Denmark, having lost just one only point in a tense chase. It was a captain’s shot that secured victory in both matches, with Danish skipper Hamid Shah’s A-list first ton providing the bulk of his side’s 297-point tally while Canadian Navneet Dhaliwal hit his second century of the tour, his personal 103 proving 12 points. more than Qatar would manage between them.
Dhaliwal dominated scoring partnerships with Matt Spoors and Nicholas Kirton, taking his side to 168/2 by the mark of 35 points, before Kirton’s dismissal triggered a mini meltdown. Kirton was pinned LBW by Imraz Rafi for 37 and Dhaliwal fell for 103 in the next over, a lobbed drive from Mohammed Nadeem finding the long-range defender. Three balls later, Saad Bin Zafar scored for a duck as Canada stumbled to 171-5.
But Raviderpal Singh picked up where Dhaliwal left off, halting the slump and regaining momentum with an unbeaten half-century even as Muhammad Murad robbed him of three partners in succession, taking Canada to an imposing 275 for 9 at the break.
The target would prove far beyond Qatar, with Zaheer Ibrahim the only top-notch stick to contribute to a significant score, making 34 from 38 before driving loosely to cover to become Salman Nazar’s first of three victims. The middle order quickly died down as Qatar collapsed from 67/1 to 78/6 against the Canadian rotation before Nazar Jeremy Gordon came back to wrap up the sets. Back in the 25th, Gordon hit a two-ball to catch Assad Borham on the slide and Ikramullah Khan inside the goalkeeper’s border. Four balls later, Murad fended off a short midwicket ball without scoring, and captain Mohammad Rizlan, after watching the innings crumble around him, became the last man out in the next over, chipping Nazar at a added coverage for 13 as his side rolled for just 91 points with nearly half of their overs unused.
Meanwhile, a somewhat angry affair between Singapore and Denmark turned out to be the thriller of the day. Denmark captain Hamid Shah let his bat do the talking in response to Singapore’s rather excessive chanting of Nikolaj Laegsgaard’s early dismissal, prompting the umpires to step in and calm things down. Shah would keep them quiet for the rest of the innings, partnering with Surya Anand and Zameer Khan to take his side beyond 200 with ten overs to go. Shah evoked his century by throwing a low, full throw from Aryaman Uchil to the edge of the square in the 43rd before accelerating through the death, Uchil coming in for a particular punishment as Shah threw the first ball of his next out for six over midwicket. He picked up six more on the last one as he fell down the long rope. Shah beat Janak Prakash in the 47th, quickly followed by Zameer, but Oliver Hald’s late strike took them almost to the 300 mark.
Rohan Rangarajan kept Singapore in touch for much of the second innings despite the Danes finding regular wickets during the early stage, his 94 run partnership with Mutreja giving Singapore control of the chase at 172/3 after 30 overs. However, Mutreja and Ranagrajan would fall in successive overs. Mutreja drove Hald to cover and Rangarajan sent a stiff top edge over Saud Munir to fall for 87 on the next course. Manpreet Singh’s 44 from 42 kept Singapore’s hopes alive, but after pulling off a comeback at Laegsgaard in the 43rd, the chase fizzled as Singapore stumbled 258/6 to 296, with Uchil the last to tuck in softly at Munir with two balls and two races to go.
The result takes Denmark to third place, one win away from Singapore in second, the two with 10 and 12 points respectively. Canada extended their lead at the top to 4 points, with a game against Vanuatu tomorrow still to play. Singapore also have a game against Vanuatu on Saturday, while Denmark will face Malaysia tomorrow. Malaysia will play their last match of the round against Qatar on Saturday, wrapping up the league’s second leg. The teams will meet again for the final round robin in Malaysia in December, with the winner advancing to next year’s World Cup qualifiers.