The warm-up matches for the ICC World Twenty20 2014 Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates got underway with wins for Ireland, Italy, Nepal and Scotland.
Ireland were perhaps the most impressive in beating the Netherlands by six wickets and while Scotland would have been expected to despatch USA, Italy's win over Bermuda and Nepal's over United Arab Emirates showed just how closely-matched many of the teams involved are.
Captain William Porterfield was the hero for Ireland, hitting an unbeaten 75 in 58 balls to guide his side past their target of 140 with four balls to spare. Needing seven to win from the final over, he hit a six from the first ball and then picked off a single to give his side the perfect start.
Alex Cusack and Max Sorensen had earlier taken two wickets apiece to restrict the Netherlands to 139 for five, in which Wesley Barresi top scored with 50 in 46 balls.
Had the United States of America been able to offer Steven Taylor (55) more support at the top of the order, they might have pushed Scotland harder, but as it was they could only reach 133 for seven as Iain Wardlaw took three for Majid Haq two for 30.
Calum McLeod led Scotland's reply with 46 and 43 balls and as Kyle Coetzer blasted 35 not out in 23 balls, they got home with nine balls to spare.
The tightest match came between Italy and Bermuda. Batting first, Italy had a late-order charge from Carl Sandri (42 in 27 balls) to thank for them being able to reach 128 for six after Peter Petricola had made 25 and Damien Crowley 20.
Bermuda started well enough with Dion Stovell making 33 in just 17 balls but Vincenzo Pennazza and Sandri grabbed two wickets apiece to bowl Italy back into the game.
Pennazza dismissed Stovel before returning to remove Kamau Leverock at the start of the final over, and needing eight to win from the final five balls, Bermuda fell short, despite the best efforts of Malachi Jones, who was not out on 14.
Going into this competition, United Arab Emirates were in good form in 50-over cricket but they slipped up against Nepal.
They lost three top-order wickets cheaply but their innings was revived by 55 in 40 balls from Khurram Khan and a series of cameos down the order. Jitendra Mukhiya proved incisive, if expensive, to return figures of three for 30 for Nepal.
Nepal also made a poor start by losing openers Subash Khakurel (14) and Pradeep Airee (0). However, captain Paras Khadka then played the innings of the morning by making a brilliant unbeaten 85 in 62 balls to guide his side home in the final over.
Gyanedra Malla played a key supporting role by making 25.
Other warm-up matches being played today see Papua New Guinea take on Uganda, Afghanistan meet Canada, Denmark against Hong Kong and Kenya versus Namibia.
© Cricket World 2013
Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Namibia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States of America
Afghanistan, Bermuda, Denmark, Kenya, Netherlands, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Scotland