More Upsets As PNG, USA Take Victories
There were more upsets in the afternoon session on the opening day of the ICC World Twenty20 2014 Qualifier with wins for Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and the United States of America.
Hong Kong got their campaign off to a winning start with a seven-wicket defeat of Italy.
Haseeb Amjad returned outstanding figures of five for 12 as Italy struggled to reach 110 for eight, with Carl Sandri's run-a-ball 41 keeping them in the game.
Tanwir Afzal also took two for 12 and Monir Dar one for 16.
During the warm-ups, Italy have proved that their bowlers are good at keeping things tight and they gave themselves every chance in this game, and it eventually took Hong Kong until the penultimate over to knock off the runs.
Had Italy managed to remove Waqas Barkat, who made an unbeaten 51 in 60 balls, the result might well have been different, but he allowed the other batsmen to bat around him before hitting the winning runs himself.
In the battle between North America's finest, USA beat Canada by five wickets after producing a brilliant late charge, scoring 50 runs in the final five overs.
They looked in dire trouble at 61 for five in the 12th over chasing 138 to win but managed it with a ball to spare as Timroy Allen hit 50 not out in 31 balls, and Srinivasa Santhanam an unbeaten 28 in 32.
Steven Taylor and Karan Ganesh had earlier both made 18 and although Harvir Baidwan and Junaid Siddiqui both took two wickets to put Canada in control, they couldn't finish USA off.
39 in 34 balls from Jimmy Hansra, 28 in 21 from Rizwan Cheema and 20 from Ashish Bagai had enabled them to score 137 for six from their 20 overs.
This was just USA's fifth Twenty20 victory and their first over Canada - they have beaten Scotland twice, Oman and Bermuda previously.
While the Netherlands beating Afghanistan does not rank as an upset like Bermuda beating Scotland in the morning does, doing so by dismissing them for 90 was certainly unexpected.
They raced to their modest target inside 13 overs to complete a handsome seven-wicket win, which was only their second against Afghanistan and first since 2010.
Opening bowlers Mudassar Bukhari (2-7) and Paul van Meekeren (2-18) reduced Afghanistan to 14 for three and although Mohammad Shahzad made 20 and Najibullah Zadran scored 19, they were unable to build any partnerships of substance with Pieter Seelaar and Ahsan Malik also taking a brace of wickets apiece.
Shapoor Zadran then removed Wesley Barresi with the first ball of the Netherlands' run chase and Mohammad Nabi followed it up with the wickets of Stephan Myburgh (21) and Eric Szwarczysnki (24) before Peter Borren smashed the Dutch to victory with 38 in just 15 balls including two fours and four sixes.
Papua New Guinea proved that their warm-up win over Ireland was no fluke with an excellent four-wicket win over Kenya in a high-scoring match.
Kenya would have been confident that 176 for five was enough but in the end it proved well short as PNG's batsmen attacked the target with relish, clinching victory in 17.4 overs.
Collins Obuya (53 not out in 40 balls), Steve Tikolo (38 in 19) and Morris Ouma (37 in 25) were the mainstays of Kenya's batting effort as their top order produced the goods before Christopher Amini checked their progress with two for 31.
If Kenya's belligerent batting had been impressive, then it paled in comparison with what the Papua New Guinea batsmen produced next.
Tony Ura set them on their way by hitting two sixes to score 25 in eight balls. Assad Vala (21 in 16) and Kila Pala (46 in 30) continued where he had left off and the experienced Geraint Jones made 44 in 32.
By the time Jones and Pala were dismissed, PNG were 161 for four after 16 overs and virtually home, and although Chris Kent (21) and Mahura Dai (1) also lost their wickets, they needed only another 10 balls to seal a mighty impressive win.
© Cricket World 2013