Kenya and Papua New Guinea won through to the Super Six stage of the ICC World Cup Qualifier 2014 with dramatic victories as Scotland and United Arab Emirates also won on the final day of the initial group stages.
Those four sides will be joined by Hong Kong and Namibia to battle for the final two places at the 2015 World Cup over the next nine days.
Canada, Netherlands, Nepal and Uganda are out of contention but will now play off for seventh and ninth positions respectively.
Scotland finally ended Canada's miniscule chances of progression with a crushing 170-run win.
Calum MacLeod hit the tournament's top score of 175, needing just 141 balls during an innings that included 14 fours and five sixes.
Matt Machan made 68 and Freddie Coleman 40 as the Scots racked up 341 for nine despite Khurram Chohan taking five for 68.
Canada were then bowled out for 171, ending their tournament with a whimper although Hamza Tariq delayed the inevitable with 71 in 70 balls.
Rob Taylor, Iain Wardlaw and Safyaan Sharif all took two wickets as Scotland's hope of appearing at their first World Cup since 2007 remained well and truly alive.
United Arab Emirates held on to beat Hong Kong by 22 runs but both sides qualified alongside Scotland.
Khurram Khan led the way for the UAE with 78 in 68 balls while Amjad Ali hit 49 and Rohan Mustafa 32 before they were bowled out for 249 in 48.1 overs.
Haseeb Amjad was the pick of the bowlers for Hong Kong with three for 33 while Aizaz Khan and Irfan Ahmed took two apiece.
Hong Kong made a poor start to their reply and UAE reduced them to 75 for three but they fought back through Mark Chapman's 59 and Babar Hyat's 46 not out before they eventually fell short.
UAE's bowling proved too strong on the day with Mustafa taking three for 53 to leave Hyat stranded when Hong Kong were all out for 227 in 49.4 overs.
FINAL GROUP STANDINGS
Scotland 6 points, NRR 1.663
Hong Kong 6 points, NRR 1.069
UAE 6 points, NRR 0,848
Canada 2 points, NRR -2.066
Nepal 0 points, NRR -1.567
Kenya and the Netherlands faced off in a clash that could have wider repurcussions than simply deciding who goes through.
It was a winner-takes-all affair with the loser likely to miss out on similar levels of funding that they have enjoyed over the last World Cup cycles by being among the top six Associates and Affiliates.
Batting first, Netherlands lost opener Stephan Myburgh without scoring but managed to post 265 for six as Eric Szwarczynski hit 57 and Wesley Barresi a fine 137 in 150 balls.
Michael Swart (29) and Peter Borren (28) added late runs to put the match on an even keel.
Kenya also lost an opener early when Alex Obanda was bowled by Mudassar Bukhari for five but they fought back admirably.
Irfan Karim led the way with a sparkling 108 in 84 balls and with Ragheb Aga hitting 86 in 70, the pair added 148 together for the second wicket in less than 20 overs to turn the game Kenya's way.
Bukhari struck again to trap Aga in front but Karim then put on 65 with Collins Obuya (37) to take Kenya to the brink.
Neither he nor Obuya could quite get them home, removed by Ahsan Malik and Bukhari respectively and after Malik struck twice more to dismiss Rakep Patel for 10 and Thomas Odoyo for a duck, the experienced hands Steve Tikolo (7 not out) and Maurice Ouma (1 not out) finished the job with almost 15 overs to spare.
That figure was important because they eventually edged the Netherlands out by 0.31 runs when net run-rate was required to separate the two teams.
Papua New Guinea beat Namibia by eight wickets in a victory that puts them at the top of the Super Six stage thanks to their earlier win over Kenya.
A stunning new-ball burst from Chris Amini (2-25) and Pipi Raho (2-25) reduced Namibia to 16 for four and although Craig Williams hit 27 and Gerrie Snyman 54, they never truly recovered as PNG kept up the pressure with wickets at regular intervals.
Mahura Dai took three for 34 and Charles Amini two for 24 as Namibia were dismissed for 163 in 48.4 overs.
PNG were not about to speculate to accumulate and decided to attack from the start, chiefly through Lega Siaka, who smashed 112 not out in 82 deliveries.
Jason Kila made 11 and Assad Vala 16 before falling to Christi Viljoen and Bernard Scholtz but with Namibia unable to remove Siaka, their chances soon faded.
Geraint Jones was unbeaten on 12 when PNG charged home in just 25 overs.
Papua New Guinea 6 points, NRR 1.095
Namibia 6 points, NRR 0.574
Kenya 4 points, NRR 0.401
Netherlands 4 points, NRR 0.370
Uganda 0 points, -2.259
Papua New Guinea 4 points, NRR 1.983
Scotland 2 points, NRR 0.462
Hong Kong 2 points, NRR -0.050
UAE 2 points, NRR -0.397
Namibia 2 points, NRR -1.125
Kenya 0 points, NRR -0.417
SUPER SIX, 26th January
Kenya v Hong Kong
Scotland v Namibia
UAE v PNG
PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINALS, 26th January
Netherlands v Nepal
Canada v Uganda
Kenya captain Rakep Patel: "There was a lot of pressure on the boys today. They really performed and got us through to the next round.
"Chasing 265 could have been very difficult. But the way Irfan Karim and Ragheb Aga batted today was very good, and Collins Obuya finished things off nicely.
"This win means a lot to the team, and to everyone back home. The boys have believed in themselves and changed their own luck. The senior players are displaying real leadership and commitment."
Netherlands captain Peter Borren: "A lot went wrong today, in the field particularly. Their two batsmen played beautifully, and we didn’t respond well.
"We probably didn’t get enough runs in our last ten overs. We could have killed them off there with wickets in hand. But they bowled well and we struggled to get it away. That was pretty crucial."
Scotland captain Preston Mommsen: "We’ve achieved our first goal of making it in to the Super Six stage, and I’m very happy with the way we’ve gone. We’re playing an aggressive brand of cricket, and I’m a very happy chap.
"We’ve turned things around since losing to Hong Kong. There’s a lot of confidence in the team. We’re scoring at a good rate and guys are building good scores.
"The games from here on will only get tougher. Every match from now on is a must win. We’ll take it one game at a time, but we’re buzzing to get started in the Super Six."
Canada skipper Jimmy Hansra: "Today it was just Calum’s day. A batsman getting 175 is not something you see every day. He really took the game away from us.
"To be fair, both our batting and bowling didn’t perform in this tournament."
PNG batsman Lega Siaka: "We were looking at net run-rate and that’s why I was going hard with the ball. I was trying to make the run rate faster, so hopefully it has worked. The boys are happy and I am happy too."
PNG captain Chris Amini: "I am a very happy man this afternoon. Our first goal was to get through the play-off stages, and we’ve done that. Now we have to push on from here for a World Cup spot.
"We’ll keep going how we’ve been going. Our downfall was against Netherlands, our execution for bowling and batting. But it worked today. We create our own luck, really, by working hard off the field and on the field, so we are looking forward to the Super Six stage."
Namibia captain Sarel Burger: "The day was a bit disappointing, the batting once again didn’t kick off like we wanted it to do, but there are positives that we can take out of the match, so we are looking forward to the Super Sixes, and from now on the matches are all must-wins, so we are quite excited.
UAE captain Khurram Khan: "It is a wonderful feeling. We played superbly, and we take the two points from today’s win through into the next round. That’s really important.
"Our strength is batting, and now everybody is scoring well. The batting is clicking and that’s a very good sign for the Super Six.
"We’re definitely confident we can qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup. We’ll take each game as it comes, but we’re feeling good."
Hong Kong captain Jamie Atkinson: "Obviously we’re very disappointed to lose today after three pretty convincing performances, and with UAE qualifying as well it’s a shame we couldn’t win and take those points through with us.
"The Super Six stage is going to be tough. All the teams that have made it through deserve to be there, but three games in six days will really test everyone."
© Cricket World 2014