Canada Off The Mark, Hong Kong Beaten
On day five of the ICC World Twenty 2014 Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates, Canada took their first win, Hong Kong were beaten for the first time and there were also victories for Kenya, Nepal, Namibia, the Netherlands and UAE.
In Group A Canada thrashed Uganda by 44 runs to end their wait for a victory, Namibia beat Italy by three wickets and the United Arab Emirates beat previously unbeaten Hong Kong, leaving Ireland as the only side in the competiton with a perfect record.
Group B saw the Netherland hammer Denmark, who are now the only team yet to score a win, by seven wickets, Kenya thump Scotland by 92 runs and Nepal beat Papua New Guinea by seven wickets in a clash between two of the tournament's early star teams.
Canada put defeats to USA, Ireland and Hong Kong behind them to despatch Uganda by 44 runs.
They did it despite only two of their batsmen making double figures. Fortunately for them, Jimmy Hansra made 58 not out and Ashish Bagai 40 to help them reach 137 for seven - the pair putting on 49 of those runs together.
Uganda's innings was also a string of single-figures scores apart from Phillimon Mukobe (21), Davis Karashani (28) and Jonathan Sebanja (20). Just four fours and two sixes were scored by the Ugandans as they limped to 93 all out in 17.2 overs.
The United Arab Emirates brought Hong Kong's bright start to an end with a seven-wicket win which came with eight balls to spare.
Hong Kong's top order batted well enough with Jamie Atkinson making 42 and Nizakat Khan 27 in 20 balls but their lower order was swept aside by Manjula Guruge (3-19), Nasir Aziz (3-20) and Khurram Khan (2-18) and from 122 for three, they closed on 138 for eight.
Tanwir Afzal struck early to remove Shaiman Anwar for four and Abdul Shakoor for eight but UAE, thanks to Mohammad Azam's 37 and Khurram's unbeaten 67 in 42 balls swiftly got themselves back on track. The pair put on 76 for the third wicket and after Azam was dismissed by Nadeem Ahmed, Swapnil Patil hit 20 not out in 16 balls to ensure UAE took their third win of the competition.
Italy mounted a strong recovery after being reduced to 27 for four by Namibia but were still unable to put enough runs on the board.
After JJ Smit (2-23) and Nicholas Scholtz (1-16) had seen off the top order, Carl Sandri made 31 and Mick Raso 35 not out in 27 balls to help Italy close on 121 for six.
However, despite the modest target, Namibia needed every single ball of their 20 overs and all but three of their wickets to overhaul it.
LP van der Westhuizen led the charge with 41 at the top of the order before Italy hit back with the wickets of Christi Viljoen (0) and Stephen Baard (1).
Van der Westhuizen then combined with Craig Williams (57 in 51 balls) to add 66 for the third wicket and they seemed on course for a simple win.
Back came Italy again, Sandri removing van der Westhuizen and as Gareth Berg and Madupa Fernando chipped in with a wicket apiece, the game went down to the wire.
Williams fell off the second ball of the final over, and Scholtz one ball later, leaving JP Kotze (5 not out) and Smit (3 not out) with the task of scoring the four runs required, which they managed, keeping their heads to do so with a brace of runs and then a single apiece from the last two balls.
Standings: Hong Kong, Ireland, United Arab Emirates 6 points, Namibia 4 points, Canada, Italy, Uganda, USA 2 points
Kenya made a slow start to this tournament but are beginning to show some ominous form with Scotland on the end of a heavy defeat when they were bowled out for 91 in reply to 183 for seven.
Kenya's top order set an excellent foundation for their innings with Steve Tikolo (20), Alex Obanda (25), Nehemiah Odhiambo (26) and Collins Obuya (36) all scoring quickly, teeing things up for Ragheb Aga to smash 52 not out in 25 balls at the death.
Scotland's innings began in similar fashion as most of their top order batsmen made starts but only David Murphy could reach 20 and they then collapsed alarmingly from 84 for four to 91 all out, losing six wickets for seven runs.
Tikolo completed a good all-round game by taking four of those wickets for just two runs in eight balls while Shem Ngoche returned two for 17.
Denmark at least made it past the 100-run mark against the Netherlands but were well beaten as the Dutch, who are still to be involved in anything approaching a close game, raced to a target of 110 in 10.4 overs.
Denmark's Kamran Mahmood top scored with 41 in 31 balls but had little support as Ahsan Malik took four for 10 and Peter Borren two for 17 to restrict the Danes to 109 for eight.
The Netherlands were in no mood to hang around and gave their net run-rate a huge boost thanks to Stephan Myburgh's 54 not out in 32 balls, Wesley Barresi's 22 in 11 and Borren's 22 not out in 10 balls, winning the game with more than nine overs to spare.
Only three of Papua New Guinea's big hitters got going in this game and Nepal reached their target of 141 in the 19th over to win by seven wickets.
Geraint Jones (55), Mahuru Dai (36 not out) and Tony Ura (22) were the only players to reach double figures as PNG scored 140 for six as Paras Khadka took three for 22.
Nepal's run chase was led by Subash Khakurel, whose 38 in 37 balls gave them a good platform and although Sagar Pun and Gyanendra Malla both fell for 10, the ever reliable Khadka (26 not out) and Binod Bhandari (51 not out) saw them home with a 71-run partnership for the unbroken fourth wicket.
Standings: Nepal, Netherlands 6 points, Afghanistan, Bermuda, Kenya, Papua New Guinea 4 points, Scotland 2 points, Denmark 0 points
© Cricket World 2013