Canada extend lead; Denmark see off Qatar challenge

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Canada are at the top of CWC Challenge League A-pool (File Photo)
Canada are at the top of CWC Challenge League A-pool (File Photo) © Getty

Hosts Canada extended their lead in the CWC Challenge League A-pool, going four points clear of Singapore with a 121-run win over Malaysia, with Harsh Thaker marshalling the tail to see the home side to a solid 239 in an otherwise scratchy first innings, and Saad Bin Zafar taking 5-31 as Malaysia slumped to 118 all out in reply. Meanwhile, Denmark saw off mid-table rivals Qatar, skipper Hamid Shah striking a second consecutive half-century from the top of the order, Saif Ahmad's 63 off 68 keeping the runs coming through the middle and Surya Anand adding late impetus to take the Danes to a more than competitive 267-7 before Saif Ahmad took 4-29 to end the Qatari reply 87-run short.

Regular wickets had kept the Canadians contained through much of their innings; Navneet Dhaliwal the first to go slashing Pavandeep Singh to point in the third over, and Matt Spoor's adventurous innings ended at 23 off 18 when he failed to clear backward point while looking to uppercut Mogan in the 8th. Khizar Hayat's offspin proved particularly tough to get away, his ten overs yielding just 23 runs and the wicket of Rayyan Pathan - caught and bowled for 49 as Canada ground out 119 for 4 in the first half of the innings. But Thaker stroked a composed unbeaten 57 off 72 even as wickets continued to fall, and Dilon Heyliger's 28 off 19 at the death got the hosts to a creditable 239-8.

Malaysia never threatened the target, Jeremy Gordon and Salman Nazar both striking twice early as they stumbled to 54-4. Sharvin Muniandy was the only Malaysian bat to offer resistance, and Bin Zafar would repeatedly remove his partners as the chase rapidly disintegrated.

A double-wicket maiden in the 28th all but sealed the result, and Muniandy's patience failed in the next as a top-edged slog-sweep saw him caught two short of fifty before Zafar wrapped things up in his next, covering good ground to hold a top-edge off his own bowling to dismiss last man Anwar Rahman to complete his five-wicket haul and seal the win.

Qatar drew first blood in the day's other match as a typically aggressive start from Nikolaj Laegsgaard was cut short when he walked after gloving a short ball down leg off Muhammad Murad, but Shah built partnerships with Zamir Khan and Saif Ahmad to establish a platform, bringing up his fifty cutting Akash Babu out to deep point in the 32nd before being dismissed for 69 with the score on 157-3 in the 36th. Ahmad and Anand would keep the runs flowing, and though both would fall before the death by the time Anand became the second of Murad's four victims, the total was already 241 with four overs to go. Though Denmark would lose two more wickets and add just 26 from there, the total of 267-8 would prove plenty.

Qatar began set off after the total with plenty of intent, Kamran Khan targetting the straight boundary off Surya Anand, picking up six and four in the first over but fortunate not to have run out his partner as Anand got a finger on a straight drive that cannoned into the non-striker's stumps. Ibrahim would not capitalise on his luck, caught by Oliver Hald next over. Laegsgaard then pinned Khan plumb missing a slog-sweep in the seventh over and skipper Rizlan lasted just two balls before inside edging onto his pad through to the gloves.

An 88-run partnership between Imal Liyanage and Muhammad Tanveer got Qatar back on track, but Liyanage holed out off Hamid Shah soon after passing fifty. Tanveer went to his fifty in the same over sweeping for two but found no support in the lower order. Hald took Mohammad Imraz's off stump with the final ball of the 33rd to reduce Qatar to 145-5 as the pressure continued to build, and the asking rate was over eights by the time Ahmad trapped Babu in front five overs later, then striking again in his next over see Tanveer go for 80 off 109 and with him Qatar's best hope. Four overs later the game was done as Ahmed span through the tail in short order.

The defeated sides return to action on Tuesday as Qatar take on Vanuat and Malaysia neighbouring Singapore, while Denmark and Canada have a four-day break before their final matches against Malaysia and Vanuatu respectively.



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