Big Warm-Up Wins For Canada, Scotland, UAE
Canada, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates took comfortable victories as the warm-up games for the ICC World Cup Qualifier 2014 got underway in New Zealand.
There were also a couple of close finishes as Hong Kong held on to beat Kenya by two runs and Namibia beat Nepal by four.
Canada beat the Netherlands by 39 runs, Scotland beat Papua New Guinea by seven wickets and the UAE proved too strong for Uganda, running out 73-run winners.
A strong batting effort from the UAE saw them rack up 280 for eight as Rohan Mustafa (66 not out), Shaiman Anwar (59) and Khurram Khan (56) all reached half-centuries and Salman Faris made 47 before retiring.
Uganda were solid in reply but were unable to score quickly enough to threaten their target. Abram Mutyagaba made 48, Phillimon Mukobe retired on 52 and Benjimin Musoke hit 48 as they closed on 207 for five.
One of the games of the day was between Hong Kong and Kenya, where the former held on to take a two-run win over the more experienced opponents.
Mark Chapman top scored with 69, Babar Hayat made 46 and Irfan Ahmed 37 as Hong Kong posted 242 for nine; Ragheb Aga and Elijah Otieno took a brace of wickets apiece.
Irfan Karim then struck a brilliant unbeaten 130 in 164 balls but it wasn't quite enough to get his side home.
Irfan Ahmed (3-32) and Nadeem Ahmed (2-50) kept the pressure on Kenya and despite Rakep Patel's 49, they closed just short on 240 for six.
Scotland quickly took control of their game against Papua New Guinea by reducing them to 64 for seven batting first.
Safyaan Sharif and Rob Taylor would both finish with four wickets after a late rally led by Mahuru Dai (43) and Chris Amini (35) saw PNG bowled out for 171.
Scotland lost Kyle Coetzer (17) early but raced to their target with Calum MacLeod (57 in 52 balls) and Matt Machan (67 in 45 balls) belting swift half-centuries.
Preston Mommsen, unbeaten on 19, and Freddie Coleman, not out on six, guided Scotland home in the 28th over.
Nepal almost stunned Namibia before they went down by four runs in the day's other thriller.
Chasing 232 to win, they looked down and out at 118 for seven but Binod Bhandari (65) and Basant Regmi (39) put on 71 for the eighth wicket to get their side back in the game.
Louis Klazinga (2-53) returned to remove both men and Nepal eventually closed on 227 for nine. JJ Smit returned three for 37 and Christi Viljoen two for 38.
Earlier, Stephen Baard's 73 and Nicolaas Scholtz's 79 had helped Namibia recover from a position of 30 for three to score 231 for nine. Sompal Kani took four for 36 for Nepal.
Nitish Kumar hit five fours and two sixes in his match-winning century for Canada against the Netherlands.
He struck 107 in 126 balls as he and Ruvindu Gunasekera (49) put on 98 for the first wicket to get Canada off to the perfect start.
The Dutch fought back and with Mudassar Bukhari taking four wickets, no other Canadian could score more than 21, but with Kumar batting until the 47th over, they managed to reach 212 before they were bowled out.
Jeremy Gordon (2-28), Harvir Baidwan (2-27) and Gunasekera with a run out then struck early blows to set the Netherlands back.
Stephan Myburgh tried to lead a counter-attack with 40 but Canada kept taking wickets and although Bukhari (39 not out) and Tim Gruijters (27) added 55 for the eighth wicket, it was too little too late, and the Netherlands were bowled out for 173.
Jimmy Hansra ended as the pick of the bowlers with three for 17, taking the wickets of Ben Cooper (16), Peter Borren (5) and Michael Rippon (5).
The second and final round of warm-up matches take place tonight (11th January) and are as follows:
Canada v Uganda
Hong Kong v Papua New Guinea
Kenya v Nepal
Namibia v Scotland
Netherlands v United Arab Emirates
The competition proper begins on Monday 13th January.
© Cricket World 2014