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Afghanistan, Ireland Seal Qualification

Afghanistan, Ireland Seal Qualification
Ireland beat Hong Kong to finish on top of Group A
©International Cricket Council
Afghanistan, Ireland Seal Qualification
Afghanistan beat Kenya to top Group B
©International Cricket Council

Afghanistan and Ireland qualified for the ICC World Twenty20 2014 in Bangladesh by topping their groups in the qualifier with wins over Kenya and Hong Kong respectively.

There were also wins in Group A for Canada, Namibia and United Arab Emirates while in Group B, Papua New Guinea and Scotland won their games.

Group A

A win for Ireland over Hong Kong always looked likely after Kevin O'Brien had thumped 62 in 27 balls and Paul Stirling 77 in 46 to help them post 207 for four.

Hong Kong fought hard and with Jamie Atkinson hitting 48, were in the game for a while until they collapsed from 92 for two to be all out for 122, losing eight wickets for 30 runs. Stirling completed a memorable game with figures of four for 10.

Hong Kong finished the group in second and will play Nepal for a chance to join Ireland in Bangladesh, and the losers of that match will get one final chance to make it.

Italy qualified for the play-offs and Canada missed out despite winning this match by five wickets.

Once again, Italian captain Damian Crowley was his side's star performer, hitting 61, but with little support, they made a modest 104 for six.

Three wickets from Gayashan Munasinghe kept Canada under pressure and they only got home with four balls to spare with Rizwan Cheema hitting 34 and Jimmy Hansra 32.

United Arab Emirates sealed third place in the group (and a play-off clash with the Netherlands) with a 14-run over the United States of America, who ended last in the group.

Khurram Khan hit 61 not out in 42 balls to help UAE post 151 for five which was enough, despite Karen Ganesh and Danial Ahmed taking two wickets apiece.

Steven Taylor got USA off to a good start with 42 before UAE hit back, Khurram taking three for 30 and Shadeep Silva two for 16 to restrict them to 137 for seven.

With Italy failing to beat UAE, Namibia finished in fourth place in the group by beating Uganda by 38 runs.

They outclassed their opponents by hitting 125 for seven and then Uganda managed just 87 for nine in reply.

Nicholaas Scholtz hit 38 in 26 balls and Sarel Burger 34 in 39 for Namibia, for whom LP van der Westhuizen and Bernard Scholtz both took three wickets.

Final Standings: Ireland 13 points, Hong Kong 10 points, UAE 10 points, Namibia 8 points, Italy 5 points, Canada 4 points, Uganda, USA 3 points

Group B

Afghanistan made it through to both the ICC World Twenty20 2014 and the final of this tournament by handing Kenya, who finished sixth in the group, by 34 runs.

Key to Afghanistan's win was Noor Ali Zadran's 50 in 48 balls. Only Karim Sadiq (30) and Najibullah Zadran (33) were also able to reach double figures in their score of 148 for nine.

However, despite Steve Tikolo opening the batting and hitting a quickfire 25 in 16 balls, Kenya were rocked by two wickets in two balls from Samiullah Shenwari, who went on to take five for 13, and they could only reach 114 before being bowled out in the 19th over.

Rakep Patel hit a defiant 52 in 38 balls but Afghanistan were too strong, Shapoor Zadran and Mirwais Ashraf also taking two wickets

Scotland made a poor start to the tournament but ended it strongly, beating Denmark by 75 runs to finish fourth in the group, setting up a play-off match against Italy.

Matt Machan hit 90 in 55 balls, Calum MacLeod 41 in 32 and Michael Leask 41 in 20 as the Scots powered to 205 for three, a score that was always going to be beyond Denmark.

Carsten Pedersen then made 43 and Hamid Shah 25 and although this was arguably Denmark's strongest batting performance of the tournament, they closed a long way short on 130 for six.

Papua New Guinea will play Namibia in their play-off to stay in with a chance of qualifying after they beat Bermuda by 25 runs and Kenya failed to beat Afghanistan.

In a high-scoring game, PNG posted 168 for five before Bermuda closed on 143 for nine.

Tony Ura hit 47 in 32 balls and although PNG slipped to 26 for four, he and Mahuru Dai (64 not out in 42 balls) put on 76 for the fifth wicket to help them close on 168 for five, with Charles Amini weighing in with 32 not out in 34 balls.

David Hemp then hit 64 in 49 balls and Janeiro Tucker 42 in 25 but their less experienced team-mates were unable to carry on their good work once they were dismissed and as Willie Gavera took three wickets, they closed short and finished seventh in the group.

Final Standings: Afghanistan 12 points, Netherlands 10 points, Nepal 8 points, Scotland 8 points, Papua New Guinea 7 points, Kenya 6 points, Bermuda 4 points, Denmark 1 point

Next fixtures:

Hong Kong v Nepal and Netherlands v United Arab Emirates - the winners of these matches qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 and the semi-finals of this competition, where they Afghanistan and Ireland await.

Namibia v Papua New Guinea and Italy v Scotland - the winners of these matches will play the losers of the above matches for a final chance to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20.

Canada v Kenya, Uganda v Bermuda, USA v Dernmark - these are classification matches; neither of these sides can qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

© Cricket World 2013