MUSCAT: Uganda and hosts Oman both secured impressive victories on a scintillating opening day of action in the ICC World Cricket League Division 3.
Uganda was promoted to this level from the ICC World Cricket League Division 4 2018 in Malaysia but instantly looked at home, as it recorded a comfortable five-wicket victory over Denmark on November 9.
Meanwhile, Oman made the most of home comforts to record a composed five-wicket win of its own over Kenya at Oman Club Turf 1 – with both teams having been relegated from Division 2 in Namibia back in February.
The other two countries competing in Division 3 are USA and Singapore, who get under way on day two with games against Uganda and Oman, as the road to ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 qualification continues.
Oman v Kenya
Oman got off to a perfect start on home soil as opening bowlers Bilal Khan (2-31) and Kaleemullah (4-26) had Kenya in immediate trouble at eight for three.
Kenya began to slowly rebuild as Gurdeep Singh (25 from 70 balls) and top-scorer Rakep Patel (36 from 64) steadied the ship before Kaleemullah struck again to remove the former caught behind and Jay Odedra (2-25) did likewise to Patel.
Sachin Bhudia’s 34 added some potentially valuable runs late on but Kenya was all out for 164 with four balls of their 50 overs still remaining.
A steady response saw the hosts always in control as the top order of Aqib Ilyas (22), Jatinder Singh (33) and Khawar Ali (24) kept Oman ahead of the run-rate and with wickets in hand.
Captain Zeeshan Maqsood then took over and his unbeaten 53 (including five boundaries) ensured a five-wicket triumph with more than seven overs remaining to get the hosts off to a flyer.
Uganda v Denmark
Batting first, Denmark made a promising start as Freddie Klokker (14) and skipper Hamid Shah (31) put on 46 for the opening wicket.
But when Klokker was caught behind by Arnold Otwani off the bowling of Riazat Ali Shah (2-24), and Shah followed in almost exactly the same manner, the tide turned.
Saif Ahmad’s 30 from 46 balls and Mads Henriksen’s patient 43 provided some resistance but Charles Waiswa (4-25) tore through the lower order to bowl Denmark out for 165 from just 44.4 overs.
Ugandan captain Roger Mukasa was caught second ball in response but Otwani’s brilliant 88 from just 86 balls, including 15 boundaries, paced the chase perfectly.
He was given some support by Dinesh Nakrani (20) but almost single-handedly put his side in complete control before holing out to leave the score at 130 for five.
That gave Denmark a glimmer of hope but Riazat Ali Shah’s unbeaten 29 saw the African side home by five wickets with almost 14 overs remaining.
Scores in brief
Oman won by five wickets at Oman Club Turf 1
Kenya 164 all out, 49.2 overs (Rakep Patel 36, Sachin Bhudia 34; Kaleemullah 4-26)
Oman 166-5, 42.5 overs (Zeeshan Maqsood 53 not out, Jatinder Singh 33; Dhiren Gondaria 2-31)
Uganda won by five wickets at Oman Club Turf 2
Denmark 165 all out, 44.4 overs (Mads Henriksen 43, Hamid Shah 31; Charles Waiswa 4-25)
Uganda 167-5, 36.2 overs (Arnold Otwani 88, Riazat Ali Shah 29 not out; Saif Ahmad 2-33)
10 November: USA v Uganda (Oman Club Turf 1); Oman v Singapore (Oman Club Turf 2)
12 November: USA v Kenya (Oman Club Turf 1); Denmark v Singapore (Oman Club Turf 2)
13 November: Oman v Denmark (Oman Club Turf 1); Uganda v Kenya (Oman Club Turf 2)
15 November: Singapore v Uganda (Oman Club Turf 1); Denmark v USA (Oman Club Turf 2)
16 November: Oman v USA (Oman Club Turf 1); Kenya v Singapore (Oman Club Turf 2)
18 November: Kenya v Denmark (Oman Club Turf 1); Oman v Uganda (Oman Club Turf 2)
19 November: Singapore v USA (Oman Club Turf 1)
All matches start at 9.30am local time
Live scoring available on www.icc-cricket.com