Hosts Canada further extended their lead at the top of Challenge League A with a crushing win over Qatar, while nearest rivals Singapore were pipped by Denmark, bowled out just one runs short in a tense chase. It was a captain's knock that set up the win in both matches, Denmark skipper Hamid Shah's maiden List A ton providing the bulk of his side's 297-run total while Canada's Navneet Dhaliwal struck his second century of the tour, his personal 103 proving 12 runs more than Qatar would manage between them.
Canada pull further ahead in Challenge League A
Dhaliwal dominated the scoring partnerships with Matt Spoors and Nicholas Kirton, taking his side to 168/2 by the 35-over mark, before Kirton's dismissal sparked a mini collapse. Kirton was pinned LBW by Imraz Rafi for 37 and Dhaliwal fell for 103 in the next over, a lofted drive off Mohammed Nadeem finding the fielder at long off. Three balls later Saad Bin Zafar holed out for a duck as Canada stumbled to 171-5.
But Raviderpal Singh took off from where Dhaliwal left off, arresting the collapse and reclaiming the momentum with an unbeaten half century even as Muhammad Murad deprived him of three partners in succession, lifting Canada to an imposing 275 for 9 by the break.
The target would prove well beyond Qatar, Zaheer Ibrahim the only top-order bat to contribute a significant score, making 34 off 38 before driving loosely to cover to become the first of Salman Nazar's three victims. The middle order rapidly subsided as Qatar collapsed from 67/1 to 78/6 in the face of Canadian spin before Nazar Jeremy Gordon returned to wrap up the innings. Returning in the 25th over, Gordon struck in two balls to have Assad Borham caught at slip and Ikramullah Khan inside edging to the keeper. Four balls later, Murad fended a short ball to midwicket without scoring, and captain Mohammad Rizlan, having watched the innings collapse about him, became the last man out in the next over, chipping Nazar to extra cover for 13 as his side were rolled for just 91 runs with almost half their overs unused.
Meanwhile, a somewhat ill-tempered affair between Singapore and Denmark turned out to be the day's thriller. Danish captain Hamid Shah let his bat do the talking in response to Singapore's rather excessive crowing over the early dismissal of Nikolaj Laegsgaard, which prompted the umpires to step in and calm things down. Shah would keep them quiet through the rest of the innings, building partnerships with Surya Anand and Zameer Khan to take his side past 200 with ten overs to go. Shah brought up his century flicking a low full toss from Aryaman Uchil away to the square boundary in the 43rd over before accelerating through the death, Uchil coming in for particular punishment as Shah launched the first ball of his next over away for six over midwicket. He picked up six more off the last as he was dropped over the long on rope. Shah holed out off Janak Prakash in the 47th, quickly followed by Zameer, but Oliver Hald's late hitting 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 through the initial phase, his 94-run partnership with Mutreja putting Singapore in 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 up a steepling top edge off Saud Munir to fall for 87 in the next over. Manpreet Singh's 44 off 42 kept Singapore's hopes alive, but after he popped a return catch to Laegsgaard in the 43rd, the chase faltered as Singapore stumbling from 258/6 to 296 all out, Uchil the last to go driving tamely back to Munir with two balls and two runs to go.
The result takes Denmark to third place, within one win of Singapore in second, the two on 10 and 12 points respectively. Canada extended their lead at the top to 4 points, with one match against Vanuatu tomorrow still to play. Singapore too have a game against Vanuatu in hand on Saturday, while Denmark take on Malaysia tomorrow. Malaysia will play their final match of the round against Qatar on Saturday, concluding the second leg of the league. The teams will meet again for the final round robin in Malaysia in December, with the winner progressing to the World Cup Qualifier Play-Off next year.