KARACHI: In a thrilling round of league matches at the inaugural Over 40 Cricket Global Cup 2023, Pakistan, West Indies, and the United States of America (USA) solidified their positions in the semi-finals, while Australia, Hong Kong, and Canada remain in contention for a top-four finish.
Hosts Pakistan continued their unbeaten streak by convincingly defeating Hong Kong by a massive 157 runs at the National Bank Stadium. Opener Junaid Khalil Nainitalwala played a pivotal role, scoring 81 runs off 87 balls and earning the Man of the Match award. He, along with Muhammad Ilyas (66 off 64 balls), forged a crucial 133-run partnership for the first wicket.
Amjad Ali (68 off 59 balls) and Waqas Ahmed (41 off 25 balls) contributed to Pakistan's imposing total of 328 for eight in 45 overs. Hong Kong, under scoreboard pressure, struggled and was bowled out for 171 in 40.4 overs, with Abdul Qadir's left-arm spin wreaking havoc, taking five wickets for just 17 runs.
Australia, facing a must-win situation after earlier setbacks, made a strong comeback by thrashing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by a staggering 226-run margin. Australia batted first and posted a competitive total of 288 for eight in 45 overs, with contributions from Martin Raadschelders, Craig Mackay, Luke Johnson, and Justin Poole.
UAE, in reply, faltered and could not build partnerships, eventually getting bowled out for a mere 62 runs in 18.4 overs. Tim MacDonald's five-wicket haul played a pivotal role in Australia's resounding victory.
West Indies secured a commanding 103-run win over Canada, thanks to Lawrence Farnum's century and Beesham Seepersaud's four-wicket haul. West Indies set a formidable target of 312 runs, with significant contributions from Farnum, Randy Thomas, Dary Balgobin, and skipper Narsingh Deonarine.
Canada had a promising start with an opening partnership of 77 runs but collapsed after losing four wickets for just one run, courtesy of left-arm spinner Seepersaud.
The USA had no trouble defeating Nepal, the only team without a point in the tournament, winning by nine wickets. Nepal struggled to reach a below-par total of 157 for nine in 45 overs, with the USA's spin quartet delivering a clinical performance. Jan Nisar Khan and Muhammad Farrukh led the USA's successful chase, forming an unbeaten partnership of 134 runs.
The league phase will conclude with the seventh and final round, featuring Pakistan vs. UAE at the National Bank Stadium, West Indies vs. Hong Kong at Karachi Gymkhana, Australia vs. Nepal at Moin Khan Academy, and USA vs. Canada at NBP Sports Complex on Thursday.