Pitch a major factor as S'pore beaten by Oman

A damp, unplayable pitch blew Singapore's chance of promotion from the World Cricket League Division Three yesterday as they lost to Oman by five wickets.

Put in to bat after losing the toss at the Entebbe Oval, near Uganda's capital Kampala, the national team were bowled out for 100 in 37.1 overs.

"It was cloudy and drizzling in the morning and there were wet spots on the pitch," said Singapore coach Sarika Prasad. "The ball either kept low or moved about disconcertingly.

"Our batsmen tried to stay at the wicket, but it was simply impossible. I'm not trying to make excuses, but the toss virtually handed the match to Oman."

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Singapore's only partnership of note was the 49 runs for the fourth wicket between Anish Paraam (34) and captain Chetan Suryawanshi (30) as Oman's medium-pacer Bilal Khan took 5-19.

"The wicket was under-prepared, it was difficult to bat on," said Suryawanshi. "An (International Cricket Council) match of this level should not have been played on this kind of pitch."

Singaporedismissed both Oman openers for ducks. But then strong sunshine and the lunch break made the pitch harder, lessening its unpredictability.

Though Singapore's bowlers took three more wickets, they did not have enough runs on the board to defend, and Oman reached 101-5 in 24.1 overs to take two crucial points.

STICKY WICKET

I'm not trying to make excuses, but the toss virtually handed the match to Oman.

CHETAN SURYAWANSHI, Singapore captain, on the loss to Oman.

Captain Sultan Ahmed (32) and Ajay Lalcheta (37) were Oman's top scorers, while Singapore off-spinner Anantha Krishna took 2-29.

Before the match, Canada, Oman and Singapore were on top of the six-nation tournament with four points each.

Oman and Canada, who beat the United States by 96 runs yesterday, are now on six points. Uganda are on four points after a four-wicket win over Malaysia yesterday. The US and Malaysia are bottom with two points each.

Only the top two teams get promoted to World Cricket League Division Two and Singapore will have to beat Canada in their final match tomorrow by a big margin to entertain hopes of progression.

They are far behind Canada and Oman in net run rate and only other results, such as Oman losing heavily to Malaysia, will help them move up to the next level.

"In cricket you can never say," said Prasad. "Canada are very strong, but they were beaten by Malaysia. So, Oman could also lose on Monday. Anyway, we will go all-out for a win against Canada."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 28, 2017, with the headline 'Pitch a major factor as S'pore beaten by Oman'. Print Edition | Subscribe