PNG Upset Ireland As Warm-Ups Conclude
Papua New Guinea's 18-run win over Ireland was the biggest story from the final day of warm-up matches ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 2014 Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates.
PNG, who beat Uganda in their first warm-up yesterday, successfully defended 161 for eight to defeat Ireland while there were also wins for Afghanistan, Bermuda, Kenya, Netherlands, Scotland, UAE and USA.
The tournament gets underway with all 16 teams in action on 15th November.
Papua New Guinea have now firmly established themselves as a side to look out for in Group B after their latest win over Ireland.
Four players reached double figures as they posted 161 for eight but that proved enough. Geraint Jones top scored with 39 and Kila Pala made 36 before their bowlers, led by John Reva (3-25) and Norman Vanua (2-27) restricted Ireland to 143 for seven from their 20 overs.
Gary Wilson top scored for Ireland with 36 but by then they were well behind the required run rate and they failed to overcome it.
There is plenty of history between Nepal and USA and on this occasion USA prevailed by five wickets with two balls remaining to write another fascinating chapter.
36 proved to be a popular score as it was Gyenedra Malla's tally before he was run out and thanks to Sharad Vesawkar's 26 and Binod Bhandari's 22, Nepal reached 129 for seven.
USA's top order gave them a decent start, Steven Taylor (20), Akeem Dodson (19) and Elmore Hutchinson (33) all contributing before Nepal hit back.
Reduced to 96 for five in the 17th over, USA needed a steadying hand and they found it in Timroy Allen, whose unbeaten 32 in 25 balls saw them home in the final over.
Afghanistan bounced back from a disappointing defeat to Canada by outclassing Uganda during a six-wicket win.
Neither side found run-scoring particularly easy; illustrated by the fact that Uganda struggled to 76 for nine and the Afghans lost four wickets in 12.2 overs before completing the formalities.
Only two Ugandans reached double figures as Mohammad Nabi (2-2) and Samiullah Shenwari (2-15) excelled.
Mohammad Shahzad then made 22 for Afghanistan, who then lost three wickets for 26 runs before they were steered to victory by Nabi (14 not out) and Gulbadin Naib (25 not out).
Scotland eased to a nine-wicket win over Namibia, reaching their victory target of 117 in 12.2 overs.
Neil Carter took two for 23 to limit the Namibians to 116 for six despite Christi Viljoen hammering 47 in 43 balls. There was also a wicket apiece for Iain Wardlaw, Safyaan Sharif and Rob Taylor.
Although Richie Berrington fell early for five, Scotland were barely troubled in their run chase as Calum MacLeod hit 62 not out in 43 balls and Matt Machan was unbeaten on 43 in 27 deliveries.
The clash of mainland Europe's best sides - on the evidence of the past two days, in any case - saw Italy make the Netherlands work hard for their six-wicket win.
70 in 52 balls from Damien Crowley, 39 in 31 from Peter Petricola and 16 in 14 balls from Carl Sandri were Italy's scores of note as they posted 146 for seven.
However, they would come to rue the inability for any others to make a sizeable contribution as they were unable to capitalise on taking two early Dutch wickets.
At 10 for two, the Netherlands had Eric Szwarczynski to thank for seeing them home with an unbeaten 59 in 43 balls. The dismissals of Daan van Bunge (12) and Ben Cooper (14) left them at 67 for four before Szwarczynski was joined by Peter Borren, who thumped 48 not out in 25 balls to emphatically finish the game with more than three overs to spare.
Europe's other challengers, Denmark, endured another poor outing as they were comprehensively beaten by the United Arab Emirates.
Denmark failed to break triple figures for the second day in a row, closing on 90 for seven as accurate UAE bowling and an improved fielding effort dried up the runs. Kamran Mahmood top scored with just 24 while Amjad Javed deserves credit for his return of three for seven in four overs and Shadeep Silva took two for 21.
Mohammad Azam then hit 30, Saqib Ali 17 not out and Shaiman Anwar 14 to guide UAE to a six-wicket victory in the 13th over.
Another team failing to reach 100 was Hong Kong but although they were dismissed by Kenya for 99, they took the game down to the final over.
Steve Tikolo, enjoying his comeback, took three for 12 and Hiren Varaiya two for 16 as spin proved to be effective against the Hong Kong batsmen, for whom Irfan Ahmed top scored with 23.
From scoring 200 against Denmark to failing to reach 100 against Kenya shows just how unpredictable and entertaining Twenty20 cricket can be - as did the finish to this match.
Kenya started poorly, slipping to 31 for three before Irfan Karim made 37 in as many balls to move them closer to their target. When he fell in the 18th over they were 81 for six and in need of some boundaries, which eventually came, from the bats of Thomas Odoyo (15 not out) and Nehemiah Odhiambo (8 not out).
Needing six to win from the final over, Rakep Patel was dismissed by Moner Ahmed only for Odhiambo to seal a three-wicket success with two fours in three balls, the win coming with one ball remaining.
There was high drama in the game between Bermuda and Canada where the former clinched a three-wicket win as the final over went for 19 runs.
Kwame Tucker (10 not out in eight balls) and Kamau Leverock (6 not out in two) were the Bermudan heroes as they successfully chased down 186 to win.
Thanks to Hiral Patel's 64 in 50 balls and Ashish Bagai's 47 in 30, Canada were looking good at the halfway stage and were in a strong position throughout much of the second innings.
However, thanks to Dion Stovell making 55 and Janeiro Tucker 42 in 20 balls, Bermuda kept themselves in with a chance, and despite the odds being very much against them at the end, they managed to take it.
© Cricket World 2013
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