Saturday 4 April 2009 

Canada Lead Qualifiers For Super Eight Stage

With John Davison leading the way, Canada maintained its 100 per cent record in Group A of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in LC de Villiers Oval, Pretoria, today with a comprehensive victory over Namibia.

Batting first on a good track and with the benefit of a quick outfield, Davison smashed his first century of the tournament off just 82 balls as Canada posted a daunting total of 319. The free-scoring opening batsman was eventually out for 131, an innings that lasted 98 balls and included nine fours and six sixes. It was vintage Davison with no corner of ground escaping his extravagant stroke-making.

In reply, the Namibians could only manage 178 all out as they stumbled to their third successive defeat and their dream of playing in the World Cup appears to be drifting away. They now sit without a point in Group A after suffering losses to Uganda, Scotland and now Canada.

For Davison and his mates, though, it is a much more healthy story with a place in the Super Eight now secure even though tough group matches against Ireland and Scotland await next week.

“The goal was to get through to the next round, which we have done now, but it would be great to knock off both Ireland and Scotland. I fully believe we can do that if we play this sort of cricket. I think we can go all the way,” said Davison.

“It was a great place to bat out there. The ball was hitting the middle of the bat quite regularly. I played with a bit of restraint early and then it went pretty well after that.

“Up to now in the tournament I’ve probably been going a bit hard too early, which is easy to do when you’re batting with (Rizwa) Cheema because he likes to have a go. I just need to play my own game, I think, and not get caught up in what he’s doing,” he said.

Elsewhere, the United Arab Emirates upset the form guide by beating the Netherlands in a thrilling finish at Potchefstroom Cricket Ground. The Dutch batted first and made a respectable 265 off 50 overs thanks to half-centuries from Eric Szwarczynski (56) and the ever reliable Bas Zuiderent (50) with Zahid Shah (4-53) making the biggest impression with the ball for the UAE.

In reply, Saqib Ali showed his class, compiling 78 off 88 balls before he was caught by Daan van Bunge off the bowling of Ryan ten Doeschate to swing the game in the Netherlands’ favour once again. Nithin Gopal (51) also did his bit but then number-seven Fayyaz Ahmed, with a crucial 25 not out under pressure at the end, saw his side home in the final over to win by two wickets.

Meanwhile, Ireland took care of business with a minimum of fuss against Uganda at Stan Friedman Oval in Krugersdorp. Off-spinner Andrew White took 4-22 as Uganda was all out for 155 with Junior Kwebiha (51) and Joel Olweny (40) the only batsmen to put up a fight for the Africans.

Ireland captain William Porterfield made sure any hope Uganda had of defending that low total faded early, hitting 44 off 37 balls at the top of the innings. Gary Wilson made 61 and although a couple of wickets fell late on to make the score respectable, the result was never really in doubt as Ireland won through by six wickets.

Crowd favourite Afghanistan suffered its first defeat of the tournament, coming up against a determined Kenya unit at Potchefstroom University. A well-compiled century from Kennedy Obuya along with support from Alex Obanda (60) helped Kenya post 282-5 after 50 overs, a total that proved too much for the Afghans as they fought hard but were eventually dismissed for 175 with Mohammad Nabi scoring a half-century.

Oman came agonisingly close to pulling off a major upset against Scotland before falling just short at WITS University. In reply to Scotland’s 274-9 off 50 overs, Syed Maqsood Hussain got his side off to a flyer, hitting an astonishing 70 off just 30 balls, including nine fours and three sixes. But gradually Scotland got back into the game and despite some solid batting from Zeeshan Siddiqui (50) and Nileshkumar Parmar (37), the Scots eventually ran out winner by just nine runs in a thrilling finish with Jan Stander the pick of the bowlers with 4-41 and Dewald Nel bowling well at the death.

Bermuda made short work of Denmark at Vaal University to register its first points of the tournament after suffering defeats to the UAE and Afghanistan. Bowling the Danes out for 157 thanks mainly to Rodney Trott (4-30) and Janeiro Tucker (3-29), the batsmen then did their job, knocking off the runs with nine wickets to spare in what is a much-needed confidence-boosting victory for the Bermudans.

| Photo Galleries

© ICC