Muscat: Defending champions Assarain returned to the top of points table with a resounding 144-run win over Al Turki Enterprises in a Muscat Pharmacy-sponsored Premier Division clash at Ministry of Sports grassy ground in Al Amerat on Friday.
Having completed their quota of 12 games with 36 points, Assarain has done themselves an immense favour by collecting a bonus point win against Al Turki, making it difficult for Enhance to do the catching up as they go into their last game against Al Turki on February 23.
Only a big win with bonus point will push Enhance over the rope as they will be tied with Assarain on 36 points each and the net run rate will decide the winners.
Premier Division is now a three-horse race for top two spots with the other four sides having one game each still to play.
Muscat CT, currently third with 27 points, can clinch the runners-up spot if they win against Passage to India (PTI) with a bonus point and Enhance loses to Al Turki.
With so much at stake, all roads will lead to Amerat next weekend.
In they last game of the league, Assarain posted a sizeable 261 for four in their quota of 50 overs thanks to a superb unbeaten 95 off 108 balls by Arun Poulose. Opener Sami-ur Rehman (89 off 96) and Sindo Michael (45 not out off 40) were the other key contributors.
Al Turki failed to pose any serious challenge to the defending champions and folded up for a paltry 117 in 32.4 overs. Gulam Shaikh topscored with 43 off 55 while Adnan-ul Haq contributed 23 off 45. Shahan Akram ran through the side with five wickets for just seven runs in 5.4 overs.
Sitting pretty at 102 for three in 22 overs, Al Turki suffered an amazing slide, slipping to 109 for eight in 28 overs to kill any chances of revival. Shakeel Ahmed and Rafiullah bagged two wickets each.
Brief scores: Assarain 261 for 4 in 50 overs (Arun Poulose 95 n.o., Sami-ur Rehman 89, Sindo Michael 45 n.o.) bt Al Turki Enterprises 117 all out in 32.4 overs (Gulam Shaikh 43, Adnan-ul Haq 23; Shahan Akram 5/7, Shakeel Ahmed 2/23, Rafiullah 2/39).
Sinha upset Renaissance
Sinha CT delivered a painful parting shot to Renaissance CT in their last league game of the Khimji Ramdas-sponsored A Division, depriving the latter of a chance clinch the runners-up spot in a surprise 64-run victory at Ministry of Sports Affairs Ground II.
Happily placed at 25 points from seven games, Renaissance would have replaced Salman Stores (29 points from 8 games) as the A Division runners-up had they won against Sinha with or without bonus point due to their superior net run rate.
Invited to bat first, Sinha scored 207 before being dismissed in the final over. Nalinda Prasad (49 off 66), Dhammika Premadasa (32 off 45) and Niluka Kandaddarage (26 off 41) were the main scorers. Batagoda Ranasinghe claimed six wickets for 33.
Sinha slid from 80 for three to 122 for seven and never really recovered, getting dismissed for 143 in 29.3 overs. Amith Eranda batted with some confidence, scoring 44 off 39. Hirantha Baddage Don and Ashan Fonseka claimed three wickets each while Niluka Kandaddarage and Ishara Fernando bagged two each.
Brief scores: Sinha CT 207 all out in 49.1 overs (Nalinda Prasad 49, Dhamikka Premadasa 32, Niluka Kandaddarage 26; Batagoda Ranasinghe 6/33) bt Renaissance CT 143 all out in 29.3 overs (Amith Eranda 44; Hirantha Baddage Don 3/9, Ashan Fonseka 3/29, Niluka Kandaddarage 2/40, Ishara Fernando 2/43).