Group stage heads towards conclusion
After a rather unpredictable week at the T20 World Cup Qualifier, today in the UAE went pretty much by the form book, although some of the winning margins were perhaps wider than one might have expected.
Early on at the Dubai International Stadium, Papua New Guinea were put into bat by Singapore. They started with a 61 run opening partnership between Tony Ura and Asad Vala. They were briefly on the back foot when Navin Param took two wickets in two balls to start the ninth over, but an unbroken 79 run partnership for the fifth wicket between Charles Amini and Kiplin Doriga helped them set a challenging total.
Amini scored 41 from 28 balls whilst Doriga scored 43 from 27 as they got their team to 180-4 from their 20 overs.
After a wide started the Singapore run chase, Rezza Gaznavi and Surendran Chandramohan went for a quick single, only for Chandramohan's bat to stick in the turf as he slid it into his crease and he was run out without facing a ball. The innings never really got going, despite a knock of 44 in 26 balls by Tim David.
Singapore were kept to 137-9 from their 20 overs, losing by 43 runs. After such a bright start to their tournament with a win over Scotland, Singapore now find themselves needing a comprehensive win over Namibia tomorrow if they are to reach the play-off stage.
And that will be a very tricky prospect given the way Namibia demolished their African rivals Kenya today in the next game. Stephan Baard set the early going with 51 from 39 balls opening the batting, but the real carnage came at the end of their innings. At 136-5 after 18 overs, Gerhard Erasmus and Craig Williams bludgeoned 45 from the final two to take Namibia to 181-5. Erasmus finished unbeaten on 52 from 25 balls.
No batsmen really got a start in Kenya's reply and they were bundled out for just 94, Bernard Scholtz taking four wickets for just 12 runs. Namibia had won by 87 runs and given their net run rate a huge boost.
In the night match at Abu Dhabi, Canada batted first against Oman. They started well, a knock of 56 from Srimantha Wijeyeratne helping them post 76-2 from their first 10 overs. But the Omani bowlers tightened the screws in the second half, and didn't allow any other Canadian batsmen to get settled. The final total of 144-9 from their 20 overs was a disappointing one given their start.
It should have been a challenging one though, particularly when Khawar Ali was out for four in the second over. But Jatinder Singh and Aqib Ilyas smashed 126 from the next 11 overs before Ilyas was out for 60 from 39 balls. Singh batted on and finished unbeaten on 68 from 39 balls as Oman recorded an eight wicket win with 5.1 overs to spare.
Given their net run rate lead, it seems likely that Oman have secured their place in Australia next year, but this tournament could well have another surprise left in it. Oman have a day off tomorrow, with the only Group B match being Ireland's match against Nigeria. In Group A, the Netherlands will take on Bermuda in the afternoon whilst Namibia will look to secure their play-off spot when they take on Singapore under the lights in the evening.