Muscat [Oman], February 24 (ANI): A skipper's knock by Navneet Dhaliwal and a career-best T20I spell by Harsh Thaker steered Canada to victory in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier A.
Dhaliwal's unbeaten 54 off 27 was laced with 3 fours and 4 sixes, as Canada achieved victory with 5.3 overs remaining.
Having restricted Bahrain to 131/8, Canada's Rayyan Pathan and wicketkeeper Shreyas Movva steadied the ship after Matthew Spoors fell early. Pathan looked in ominous form during his 26-ball 38 but was dismissed in the eight over. Movva and Dhaliwal paced their innings without taking risks before the eventful 14th over.
Bowling his second over, leg-spinner Junaid Aziz's broke the partnership when Movva was caught by George Axtell off the third ball for 32. A wide ball was followed by a single by Hamza Tariq. Dhaliwal's blitz fetched Canada 19 with 3 sixes, including a no-ball, to leave them needing just 8 off 36 balls. The skipper struck another mighty maximum to wrap up the win.
Thaker had produced a magical spell of 4-20 to deny Bahrain a big total. The right-arm off-spinner triggered a middle-order collapse to restrict Bahrain to 131/8. David Mathias and Haider Butt came together with the team in trouble at 31/3 inside the Powerplay overs.
Openers Muhammad Younis and captain Sarfaraz Ali were sent back to the pavilion by Canada's left-arm quicks Kaleem Sana and Rishiv Joshi. First change bowler, Saad Zafar, met with immediate success in the fifth over. The left-arm orthodox bowler got rid of Shahbaz Badar with a well-taken return catch.
Mathias and Butt arrested the slide as they stitched a partnership of 44 in 7.3 overs. Thaker got the breakthrough off the first ball in his opening over. Mathias was caught and bowled by Thaker for 30 off 32. The 24-year old Thaker had the batters in a knot as he claimed the wicket of Butt in his next over.
Sikder Billah's 21-ball 33, which saw him strike 4 fours and a six, helped Bahrain to push the score in the death after they were reduced to 96/5. Thaker ended Billah's entertaining knock to grab his fourth wicket.
Meanwhile, the Philippines got off to a dream start in the Powerplay as the openers forged a partnership of 56 - their side's highest ever stand in T20 Internationals. Daniel Smith smashed boundaries at will and Henry Tyler provided excellent support from the other end.
The strike rotation was effective, and the pair constantly shuffled around in their crease, forcing the German bowlers to repeatedly change their preferred line and length. But once Smith was dismissed for a well-made 35, the Philippines' frail middle and lower order was exposed. Six wickets were lost for the addition of 16 runs to the scoreboard.
Germany's Elam Bharathi's supreme spell stood out. He finished with career-best figures of 4/6 in 4 overs. A late 27-run partnership between Huzaifa Mohammed and Miggy Podosky took the Philippines past 100, and they eventually finished on 109/8 at the end of 20 overs - a national team record.
In response, Germany chased the target down with 7.1 overs to spare. Huzaifa Mohammed sent opener Talha Khan back in the very first over to add some spice to the contest. But half-centuries from Justin Broad (50) and captain Michael Richardson (59) ensured that Germany got over the line comfortably.
The pair dealt with the Philippines' spirited bowling attack proactively, playing aggressive shots to manoeuvre the field to their advantage. The 114-stand they shared is Germany's highest for any wicket in T20 Internationals. (ANI)