Hong Kong took a narrow lead in the three-way race at the top of the CWC Challenge B table with a comfortable win over Kenya in their opener at the Granville Cricket Ground in Jersey, as the hosts beat previous favorites Uganda from five wickets to keep to a point of Hong Kong at the top. At the other end of the table, Italy sent Bermuda to another heavy defeat, pushing Kenya to fifth place and moving away from the relegation zone.
Harrison Carlyon’s 115 96 balls from the top of the command set up what proved a comfortable chase for Jersey as the hosts revised Uganda’s tally to 266-6 with five wickets and 14 balls to go. resell in a back-and-forth business at Farmer’s Field. Uganda had appeared to be in control early on, Arnold Otwani partnered Simon Sseazi and Ronak Patel to take them 121-1 in the 23rd before Patel was taken down by youngster Asa Tribe, who then got caught Otwani for 56 eights. bullets later. New skipper Deusdedit Muhumuza picked up the momentum, however, with an 86-from-80 acceleration, and with points on the board at the break, Uganda looked set to extend their lead.
Carlyon however put the hosts back in charge, despite Riazat Shah striking twice early to knock out Nick Greenwood and Josh Lawrenson. Joined by Tribe with Jersey struggling at 37-2, the pair added 130 for the third wicket before Carlyon was brought down by Bilal Hassun on the last ball from the 34th over. Tribe lost another partner soon after when Jonty Jenner had just 2, and would fall himself for 68 with 51 still needed over the final 7 overs. It was the last wicket to fall however, with Dom Blampied and Julius Sumerauer’s half-century position bringing the hosts home in record time, the latter finishing the game with his fourth six firing Hassum on the square rope with 14 balls remaining.
Uganda’s defeat dropped them to third in the table and level with the hosts on 16 points, but with Jersey well ahead in net run rate. Hong Kong’s victory over Kenya saw them overtake both to claim top spot by a single point however. Kenya looked good in the game at the break, taking regular wickets to restrict Hong Kong well for much of the opening innings. Babar Hayat’s 38 of 46 from number three was the best score of the innings, but Scott McKenchnie 37 fullback with the tail and a 24-point run-a-ball cameo from number 10 Ayush Shukla took them to 213-9, which turned out to be a lot in the end.
Kenay stumbled to 4-43 after 13, but a 77-point stand between captain Rakep Patel and veteran Collins Obuya put Kenya back in contention. When Patel fell to Kinchit Shah in the 30th for 54 the tide turned again as with Ehsan Khan Shah he quickly dismantled the lower order and tail. Obuya struck hard for a 38 from 73 balls but Khan and Shah gradually snuffed out the chase, finishing with numbers of 3-20 and 4-24 respectively as Kenya were knocked out for 162.
On the opening day, Italy made light work of the still winless Bermuda, Anthony Mosca leveled the innings after a few early wickets, the Bermudians briefly took the lead with the score at 41-2 after 7 Legspinner Cameron Jeffers deprived Mosca of the company of his brother Justin shortly after, holding a clean return hold to dismiss the opener for 41, and claim the first of his three wickets, but Mosca found support in the middle order. With Gian-Piero Meade he added precisely 100 runs for the fifth wicket, and elevated his personal century with three overs to go, eventually catching Kamau Leverock for 104 of 117.
Italy were knocked out four balls later with 11 unused, but chasing an unlikely 302 to win was never a realistic hope for Bermuda. Leverock’s loss of 12 balls in pursuit, caught by Harry Manenti for 7, essentially put the result beyond doubt. A swift collapse ensued, with the Italian attack sharing the wickets as Bermuda went down to 67-7, only an unbeaten 29 back of number nine Zeko Burgess sparing them another double-digit tally.
Bermuda were arithmetically out of action before this league stage even started, and with just four matches left to play they are now all but guaranteed to finish in the bottom two, and therefore at risk of relegation. Second place in the danger zone should go to Italy or Kenya, whose meeting on Monday could well prove decisive. Kenya will play a game against neighboring Uganda the day before, while Bermuda will face Hong Kong and Jersey in their next two fixtures. For the three teams at the top of the table, first place will mean a place in next year’s qualifying play-off and a chance for promotion to CWC League 2 with ODI status, while the bottom two face elimination. Scale over 50 entirely at the CWC Challenge Play-Off.