Men's T20 WC Qualifier B, Day 2: Zimbabwe, USA, Netherlands qualify for semifinals (Ld)

Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), July 12 (IANS) Hosts Zimbabwe, the USA and the Netherlands qualified for the semifinals of ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier B after registering victories over Jersey, Singapore and Hong Kong in their respective matches at Queens Sports Club, here on Tuesday.
 
Men's T20 WC Qualifier B, Day 2: Zimbabwe, USA, Netherlands qualify for semifinals (Ld)

Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), July 12 (IANS) Hosts Zimbabwe, the USA and the Netherlands qualified for the semifinals of ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier B after registering victories over Jersey, Singapore and Hong Kong in their respective matches at Queens Sports Club, here on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe beat Jersey by 23 runs, the USA hammered Singapore by 132 runs while the Netherlands registered a seven-wicket win over the Netherlands on the second day of the tournament.

Zimbabwe v Jersey

Sent in to bat, Zimbabwe had a shaky start as they lost three wickets inside the powerplay, with Jersey reducing them to 39/3.

The onus was on last match's half-centurions, Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza to revive their innings. Together they steadied the proceedings with a 52-run stand before Williams, who made his second fifty of the tournament, was bowled by Dominic Blampied for a quick 39-ball 57.

Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals for Zimbabwe, with batters failing to convert their good starts. Luke Jongwe's fiery cameo of 29 not out from just 13 balls helped push his side's total to a respectable 146/8.

In reply, Jersey lost opener Nicholas Greenwood early inside the powerplay, in which they made 41/1. Thereafter, Ryan Burl struck thrice in each of his last three overs, finishing with returns of 3/13. That put the pressure on Jersey who were reduced to 67/4 in the 14th over.

Opener Harrison Carlyon was leading the attack, and he found a reliable partner in Benjamin Ward. However, their 52-run stand was broken in the final over as Carlyon departed for 45. Jersey fell 24 runs short of the target with Ward unbeaten on 35.

USA vs Singapore

USA openers Steven Taylor and Monank Patel were dropped in the first and second overs of the innings respectively and they made the most of the opportunities by laying a solid foundation. At the end of the powerplay, the USA were 72 for none.

It was after the powerplay stage that Singapore made inroads with the wickets of Monank and Aaron Jones. Taylor, too, followed suit after contributing a crucial 31-ball 58. However, the fall of wickets did not affect USA's scoring rate with attacking batter Jaskaran Malhotra taking charge.

In his 33-ball stay at the crease, he smashed 58 runs, including two fours and four sixes. USA finished on a strong 201/6 -- their highest T20I team total.

In reply, Saurabh Netravalkar's dream spell ripped Singapore's line-up apart. First, he struck twice on the first two deliveries he bowled and finished the same over with another scalp -- a triple-wicket maiden over.

In his next over, he added another wicket to his tally. While Cameron Stevenson chipped away with one wicket, leaving Singapore teetering at 22/5 by the end of the powerplay. The damage was already done as Singapore struggled to fight back, and continued to lose wickets.

They were eventually bowled out for 69 in 15.2 overs, with the USA securing their second win of the tournament. Netravalkar finished with 5/12 -- the best figures in men's T20Is for the USA.

Hong Kong v the Netherlands

After electing to bat, Hong Kong had an inauspicious start, losing two wickets within the Powerplay. Apart from the opener and captain Nizakat Khan, the batting unit struggled to register decent scores and they kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

The Netherlands bowlers were precise in their lines and lengths and kept the scoring rate in check. Nizakat was the lone fighter, scoring a 55-ball 60 but none of the batters crossed 13 and eight managed just single-digit scores.

The highlight of the Netherlands' bowling was fast bowler Logan van Beek, who picked up a hat-trick in the 18th over and finished with a haul of 4/27. It was Netherlands' first hat-trick in T20I cricket.

Chasing a sub-par 117 was never going to be too much of a challenge for a team of Netherlands calibre. Even though they lost Stephan Myburgh cheaply, Max O'Dowd and Bas de Leede stabilised the side quickly. They shared a 64-run stand before O'Dowd was dismissed for a 27-ball 45 in the ninth over.

Tom Cooper then joined de Leede in the middle and the pair safely navigated the remaining runs. Although Cooper was out when scores were level, newcomer Scott Edwards immediately took the required single as the Netherlands won by seven wickets with 40 balls to spare.

With two wins in two matches, the Netherlands became the third team into the semifinals.

Uganda v PNG

After being asked to bat first, Uganda lost Roger Mukasa early, in the third over. Ronak Patel fell at the beginning of the seventh over. It was a good start for PNG but they could not keep up the pressure.

Opener Simon Ssesazi and Riazat Ali Shah negated the bowling threat and put up a 108-run stand for the third wicket. Ssesazi smashed a 48-ball 78, while Riazat just fell two runs short of a fifty. Both batters were dismissed in the 19th over and their partnership ensured that Uganda posted a competitive 160/4 in their 20 overs.

PNG got off to a confident start with opener Lega Siaka smashing a four and a six but their start was quickly derailed when Frank Nsubuga dismissed Siaka and Charles Amini in the space of five balls. The double-wicket over did little to dampen PNG's enthusiasm as their captain Assad Vala combined with Sese Bau to unleash a brutal assault.

The duo shared an unbeaten 132-run stand and hit Uganda's bowlers all over the park. Vala finished on a fiery 93 not out off just 47 balls, while Bau scored a 37-ball 41 not out. The win kept PNG's chances of qualifying for the semi-finals alive.

Brief scores:

Zimbabwe v Jersey: Zimbabwe 146/8 in 20 overs (Sean Williams 57, Luke Jongwe 29 not out; Elliot Miles 2/25) beat Jersey 123/5 in 20 overs (Harrison Carlyon 45, Benjamin Ward 35 not out; Ryan Burl 3/13) by 23 runs

USA vs Singapore: USA 201/6 in 20 overs (Steven Taylor 58, Jaskaran Malhotra 58; Amjad Mahboob 3/54) beat Singapore 69 all out in 15.2 overs (Anantha Krishna 21 not out; Saurabh Netravalkar 5/12, Nisarg Patel 2/12) by 132 runs

Hong Kong v Netherlands: Hong Kong 116-10 in 18.1 overs (Nizakat Khan 60; Logan van Beek 4/27, Fred Klaassen 2/16) lost to 117-3 Netherlands in 13.2 overs (Max ODowd 45, Bas de Leede 36 not out; Ehsan Khan 2/18) by 7 wickets

Uganda v PNG: Uganda 160-4 in 20 overs ( Simon Ssesazi 78, Riazat Ali Shah 48, Charles Amini 2/20) lost to PNG 161/2 in 16.4 overs ( Assad Vala 93 not out, Sese Bau 41 not out, Frank Nsubuga 2/16) by 8 wickets

--IANS

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