By Alvin Bagaya
Singapore beat early pacesetters Canada by two runs to insure their place in the ICC World Cricket League Division III yesterday.
The match at Kyambogo Cricket Oval saw Canada win the toss and elect to field. For Singapore this was a do or die game and they did it in one of the most dramatic style in the tournament.
Singapore’s total was helped by their senior batsmen who contributed positively even when the Canada bowling was tight and wickets were falling around them. Mutreja went early but Anish Paraam 58(75) and Chetan Suryawanshi 38(39) put on 59 for the fourth wicket to dig their side out of trouble — a worthy contribution in a tournament where senior batsmen have had to put up their hands for their side.
Paraam went to Adhihetty and Suryawanshi to the left arm spin of Saad Bin Zafar but 16-year-old Janak Prakash 27(34) played an innings that may have saved his side from relegation to Division IV putting up 59 for the sixth wicket with Paraam and pushing Singapore close to the 150 mark. Singapore all-out for 166.
Canada’s run chase got off to a false start losing key players Adhihetty, Kumar and Dhanuka to stand at 3/29. Hamza Tariq 18(20) and Rizwaan Cheema 42(35) put on 45 for the seventh wicket to drive Canada back into contention.
Anantha Krishna, however, had other ideas and he bowled three magical balls for Singapore to pick Tariq, Cheema and Saad Bin Zafar 11(14) the last line of resistance.
The pressure mounted on Canada and it was telling when Cecil Pervez attempted suicide with a needless run and Prakash and Suryawanshi combined to run him out and save Singapore from the drop to Division IV.
“It was a really close game and towards the end I got too close. We batted quite well and bowled really well; focus was on bowling dot balls and in the end our plan worked, it was a great game, said man of match Janak Prakash.
Singapore Captain Chetan Suryawanshi credited the team with showing up for the important match.
“We needed to score big and win by a big margin but we missed out on that. However, even with the low score, we managed to restrict them. The team has been performing well for us but it is disappointing that we never made it to the top two,” he said.
Canada Captain Nitish Kumar summed up his team’s disappointment but remains grateful that they made it to Division II.
“We bowled well to restrict them to 160 odd but we just batted poorly and made some silly mistakes. We should have chased this off easily at one point but I think more focus is now on tomorrow’s game so we are putting this disappointing result behind us,” Kumar said.