Ireland Qualify For Final With Fourth Straight Win
Ireland extended their unbeaten run at the ICC World Cricket League Division One in the Netherlands by beating Canada by five wickets in another dominant performance that qualified them for the Saturday's final.
Batting first, Canada were restricted to 154 for nine, struggling to recover after being reduced to six for two early on and only Nitesh Kumar's 38 helping them steady the ship as Kevin O'Brien, George Dockrell and Andrew White all took two wickets apiece.
Ireland's run chase, completed in 39.1 overs, was first led by Paul Stirling, who made 35 and after a wobble which saw them slip to 92 for five and the Canadians back in the game, O'Brien was unbeaten on 43 and John Mooney on 44 as they sealed victory despite Hiral Patel returning three for 35 from his ten overs.
Afghanistan took an important six-wicket win over hosts the Netherlands, captain Nawroz Mangal starring once again during the second innings of the game.
Tom Cooper continued his remarkable run of form with a maiden ODI century on his way to 101 in 155 balls as the Netherlands reached 202 for eight from their 50 overs with Khaleq Dad taking three for 30 and Samiullah Shenwari two for 43.
Cooper and Mark Jonkman then took a pair of wickets to reduce Afghanistan to 110 for four before Mangal hit an aggressive unbeaten 67 in 55 balls, with ten fours and a six to see his side home.
Wicket-keeper Mohammad Shahzad had earlier made 57 and Mangal was also given support by Asghar Stanikzai's unbeaten 28.
Scotland set up a virtual semi-final with Afghanistan in their final group game by virtue of a six-run win over Kenya, who for the second time in as many matches, came off second best in a nail-biting finish.
Scotland's batting never really fired and they had to work hard to reach 172 for eight thanks to Fraser Watts' 50 in 92 balls and Moneeb Iqbal's 36 in 71 deliveries as Thomas Odoyo and James Otieno both returned three wickets.
Kenya too, struggled with the bat and Alex Obanda top scored with 39 as they were bowled out for 166. They looked finished at 115 for nine, however, before Nelson Odhiambo (29) and Otieno (21 not out) got their side to the brink of a win before Matthew Parker completed figures of four for 33 by bowling Odhiambo in the penultimate over.
The winner of the Afghanistan v Scotland match will meet Ireland in the final while if the match is washed out, the team with the higher net run-rate will progress. Netherlands will play the loser in the third/fourth play-off while Canada and Kenya will meet twice in two days - first in the final group game and then in the fifth/sixth place play-off match.
Standings after four matches: Ireland 8 points, Scotland, Afghanistan 6 points, Netherlands 4 points, Canada, Kenya 0 points
Next fixtures (9th July): Afghanistan v Scotland, Canada v Kenya, Ireland v Netherlands
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