Vital Wins For Kenya, Netherlands & Scotland
There were important wins for Kenya, Scotland and the Netherlands while Hong Kong made it three out of three at the ICC World Cup 2014 Qualifier in New Zealand.
Scotland, who lost their first game, made it two wins on the bounce with a 53-run win over pace-setters United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong went top of the Group A on their own by thrashing Nepal by 10 wickets.
Kenya took their first victory of the tournament by beating Uganda by 47 runs while the Netherlands joined Papua New Guinea and Namibia at the top of Group B with a crushing 130-run defeat over Papua New Guinea.
Scotland drew level with United Arab Emirates on four points as they won their clash, which was reduced to 28 overs per side, by 53 runs but both sides are all but guaranteed a place in the Super Six stage due to other results.
Scotland's openers set up their victory with Matthew Cross striking 88 in 60 balls and Calum MacLeod hammering 113 in just 62 deliveries, with 12 fours and four sixes. The pair added 178 together and although no other player could score more than 14, their onslaught had set enough of a platform for them to reach 265 for six.
Mohammad Naveed proved expensive, but returned three for 44 in six overs, as did Rohan Mustafa, who returned three for 45 in six overs.
Iain Wardlaw then grabbed the early wickets of openers Salman Faris and Amjad Ali to leave UAE in trouble before they began to recover through Khurram Khan's 88 in 54 balls.
Shaiman Anwar also scored at a fast pace, cracking 36 in 21 and Swapnil Patil also joined in by making 41 in 35 deliveries, but Scotland kept taking wickets and there were no other double-figure scores as they were dismissed for 212 in 26.5 overs.
Hong Kong knocked Nepal out and booked their place in the next stage in impressive fashion, with a massive 10-wicket win.
Hong Kong's bowlers were on top form once again and Nepal had no answers to Haseeb Amjad (4-40), Aizaz Khan (2-28) and Irfan Ahmed (2-29) and were bowled out for 150 in 49.3 overs.
Top scorer was Basant Regmi, who made 45 in 79 balls from number nine in the order.
Irfan, who has been one of the batsmen of the tournament, then struck an unbeaten 86 in 97 balls and opening partner Waqas Barkat scored 56 not out in 106 balls as Hong Kong reached their target for no loss of wicket in 33.2 overs.
Standings: Hong Kong 6 points, United Arab Emirates, Scotland 4 points, Nepal, Canada 0 points
If Canada do not win either of their remaining matches, then Hong Kong, UAE and Scotland will qualify for the Super Six stage. However, Canada have a vastly inferior net run-rate so in all likelihood, the top three are already through. Hong Kong have qualified; Nepal can no longer progress.
The Netherlands handed Papua New Guinea a heavy 130-run defeat to make it a three-way battle at the top of the group.
Eric Szwarczynski made a brilliant 129 not out in 156 balls to anchor the Dutch as they posted 323 for four.
He was supported by Wesley Barresi (56), Peter Borren (65), Stephan Myburgh (26) and Mudassar Bukhari (25).
PNG's innings then ran along similar lines to Nepal's in their game against Hong Kong - the top order collapsed only for a late-order contribution to add some respectability to their score.
Bukhari took three for 15 and Pieter Seelaar two for 51 as PNG were reduced to 73 for seven only for Jack Vare to come in and smash 96 in 59 balls.
He hit seven fours and seven sixes and was denied a century when he was bowled by Ahsan Malik and PNG were finally dismissed for 193 in 37.2 overs.
After losing their first two matches, Kenya had to beat Uganda to remain in the competition, and they did so, in the process ending Uganda's chances of progress.
They produced a solid all-round performance with runs coming from Alex Obanda (80), Collins Obuya (71) and Steve Tikolo (55 not out) as they posted 253 for five.
Abram Mutyagaba made 61 for Uganda and both Phillimon Mukabe and Frank Nsubuga made 32 apiece but Kenya pegged them back with all six bowlers used taking at least one wicket.
Uganda closed on 206 for eight.
Standings: Namibia, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea 4 points, Kenya 2 points, Uganda 0 points
In order to qualify, Kenya must beat the Netherlands in their final game and hope they can overhaul the net run-rate of one or more of the teams on 4 points. With two games to play, Namibia need to win just one of them to qualify while Uganda are out of contention.
Next matches (21st January)
Group A: Canada v Nepal
Group B: Namibia v Uganda
© Cricket World 2014