Timil five-for, Taylor century sees USA steamroll Oman

Steven Taylor brought up his century off 88 balls and eventually finished unbeaten on 124 off 95 balls © Peter Della Penna

Legspinner Timil Patel‘s second five-wicket haul of the tournament was followed by a devastating century by captain Steven Taylor as USA crushed Oman by eight wickets at Wright Cricket Field. The win puts USA in the driver’s seat for one of the two promotion berths available at WCL Division Four while Oman’s promotion chances were dented not only by the loss, but the speed of the result as USA chased a target of 164 in just 29.3 overs, wrecking Oman’s net run rate.

Taylor won the toss and sent Oman in on an overcast morning, giving debutant Ali Khan the new ball. Khan, the Guyana Amazon Warriors-contracted fast bowler, had been kept out of USA’s first two games while nursing a left hamstring injury and clearly was still not 100 percent. He aborted his runup ahead of the first ball of the match, then started off with a wide as he came in on a shortened runup of just 12 paces, but on the last ball of his first over, he bowled the dangerous Zeeshan Maqsood through the gate with an inswinger for a six-ball duck.

Khan continued to labor through the rest of his six-over opening spell but stuck it out long enough to nab Arun Poulose with a sharp return catch for 18, bobbing his head out of the way of Poulose’s drive before knifing the ball to his right to make it 29 for 2. It was one of the few times USA held onto a catch over the next 12 overs as they missed six chances on the day, the main reason Oman didn’t lose by an even bigger margin.

Swapnil Khadye benefited most from USA’s habitually sloppy fielding, surviving a runout chance and a drop at cover in the space of three deliveries, both on 21 in the 20th over bowled by Danial Ahmed, to keep an eventual 46-run stand with Khawar Ali alive. Elmore Hutchinson eventually broke the partnership, getting Khawar to edge a drive to Akeem Dodson behind for 22 and Khadye eventually fell for 36 after he was beaten in flight charging the first ball he saw from Taylor’s offspin.

With the middle order exposed, Timil was brought into the attack in the 32nd over and struck in the 34th, getting Zeeshan Siddiqui caught at deep midwicket for 22. Jatinder Singh and Amir Ali both fell attempting to slog Timil over midwicket only to send swirling top edges that fell into the hands of Taylor at cover, who made a pair of brilliant catches on each occasion. Timil then trapped Ajay Lalcheta in front for his fourth before Mohammad Nadeem’s leading edge went to Taylor at cover once more to complete the five-for. Alex Amsterdam had Munis Ansari caught on the boundary at long-on two balls into the final over to wrap up the innings.

The last time Taylor faced Oman at 2013 WCL Division Three in Bermuda, he was yorked for a second-ball duck by Ansari. On this occasion however, Taylor stood firm against Ansari, seeing off the new ball with confidence and holding firm early on after the loss of Fahad Babar, caught at slip off Rajeshkumar Ranpura for 4.

Taylor moved to a relatively sedate 12 off 20 balls before he started to show his menace in the eighth over against Ansari, flicking him off his hips for six before angling an attempted yorker behind point for four more as Oman’s slinger went wicketless for the third match in a row at the tournament. Taylor drove Amir’s offspin over mid-on for his seventh four in the 16th before tapping a single to cover next ball to bring up his fifty in just 44 balls.

It took the same amount of deliveries for Taylor to bring up his second fifty, but he gave two chances along the way. The first was on 66, as an inside edge in Lalcheta’s first over of left-arm spin popped up off his pads in the region of silly point. Khadye bolted from behind the stumps and dove but the ball slipped through his gloves. On 90, Taylor edged Maqsood to Jatinder at slip but a sharp chance was spilled. One ball later, he punished the error by slog sweeping Maqsood over deep square leg to go to 96 and brought up three figures in the following over off Lalcheta with a crisp cover drive for his 13th four to go along with five sixes.

The 22-year-old put his stamp on the game in the 28th off Maqsood, pulverizing a flat six into the trees over long-on that sent fans scurrying for cover, then punched him through cover next ball for four more. He hit Lalcheta for his seventh six into the trees over the sightscreen in the 29th, then ended the match off Maqsood with his 15th four driven once more to the cover rope in the 30th.

Jersey kept their slim promotion hopes alive with a three-wicket win at Severn Cricket Field over Italy, who are now squarely in the relegation zone after falling to 0-3 with the loss. Sent into bat, Italy made 235 as Gian Meade made 61 after being promoted up the order to No. 3, adding 66 with Alessandro Bonora for the third wicket.

Italy looked set for 250 with five overs to go at 211 for 4 with Carl Sandri and captain Damian Crowley both well set. Anthony Hawkins-Kay struck a crucial blow on the third ball of the 46th, bowling Sandri for 40 off 32 balls to end a 91-run stand. It sparked a slide of 6 for 23 as Italy’s No. 7-9 could only manage three runs. Offspinner Rhys Palmer plucked out two of those wickets and ended with 3 for 57 while Crowley fell for 58 in the 49th over to Ben Kynman, after which the pair got into a verbal exchange in one of several heated moments during the match.

Man of the Match Nat Watkins opened the chase to top score with 77 off 101 balls, adding 64 with Luke Gallichan for the second wicket after captain Peter Gough fell in the first over to Meade for 5. Watkins then added another 75 for the third wicket with Jonty Jenner before he was stumped off Sandri. The offspinning allrounder nearly rallied Italy back into the game after snaring a rare hit wicket dismissal off Will Harris in his next over while Meade ran out Hawkins-Kay in the 39th to make it 167 for 5.

Italy struck twice in the space of three balls to remove Jenner for 65 and Charles Perchard for a first-ball duck, with Crowley and Sandri inducing return catches on each occasion to put Italy three wickets away from victory with 44 still needed to win off 40 balls. Corey Bisson calmly saw Jersey home with an unbeaten 42 off 31 balls, hitting the winning single with three balls to spare.

Formerly winless Bermuda upset previously unbeaten Denmark by 38 runs at Wong Cricket Field to keep the tournament wide open heading into round four. Sent in to bat, Bermuda posted 221 for 7 as they were significantly boosted by the arrival of Delray Rawlins, who missed the first two matches while training with the England U-19 squad across the Atlantic. Rawlins made a top score of 39 batting at No. 3, sharing in a 71-run second-wicket stand with captain Oliver Pitcher.

Offspinner Bashir Shah took two more wickets on the day to stay tied with USA’s Timil atop the tournament wickets list with 10 in three games. His double-strike to remove Steven Bremar and Curt Stovell in consecutive overs left Bermuda pinned down at 161 for 7 in the 40th, but Jordan DeSilva and Dennico Hollis held Denmark’s bowling attack at bay with a valuable 60-run unbroken stand for the eighth wicket to give Bermuda a defendable total. Denmark also paid for a sloppy fielding effort in which they conceded 36 extras including 26 wides.

An inspired new ball performance from Man of the Match DeSilva and Cejay Outerbridge saw each take two wickets in the first six overs to leave Denmark floundering at 21 for 4. Bermuda took wickets at regular intervals thereafter as No. 6 Zameer Khan fell for a top score of 47 to make it 121 for 8.

From then on, Denmark conceded defeat as their strategy switched to batting out 50 overs to limit the damage to their net run rate with the news of Oman’s heavy loss on the adjacent field at Wright already having made it’s way across to Wong. The last two wickets added 62 before DeSilva finished off the match, getting Basit Raja caught at long-on before bowling Yasir Iqbal one ball into the 49th to finish with 4 for 23 as Denmark ended all out for 183.

USA takes on Denmark on Wednesday at Severn and a win for the hosts would clinch promotion into Division Three with a game to spare in round-robin play. Oman takes on winless Italy at Wong while Jersey plays Bermuda at Wright in a game where the winner will go to 2-2 and have an outside chance of promotion while the loser will fall to 1-3 and be in danger of relegation.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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