Namibia, PNG, Clinch ODI State In The Final Dramatic Round-robin > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Namibia, PNG clinch ODI status in dramatic final round-robin

PNG had turned the tables on previously-undefeated Oman, coming back from 32 for 5 to put 221 on the board at United before skittling the Omanis for just 76.

Namibia and Papua New Guinea claimed the final two places in the coming CWC League 2 and secured ODI status for the coming three years in the final group round of World Cricket League Division 2 at Windhoek on Friday (April 26). Hosts Namibia secured their place with a colossal 151-run win over Hong Kong after racking up the second-highest total in the WCL's 12-year history, twin centuries from Stephen Baard and a resurgent JP Kotze providing the bulk of runs as they posted their best-ever List A score of 396 in the first innings, enough to send Hong Kong tumbling from 4th place to the bottom of the table and Namibia vaulting into the final.

Papua New Guinea had earlier turned the tables on previously-undefeated Oman, coming back from 32 for 5 to put 221 on the board at United before skittling the Omanis for just 76. The 145-run win kept them in the running for a top-four finish, leaving Canada needing to beat the USA by a margin of at least 44 runs to stay ahead of the Papuans on net run rate, meaning they would have to hold the Americans to under 212 after posting 255 at Affies. They would miss out by a margin of just 4 runs in the end, USA No.11 Nostush Kenjige striking the final blow with just 3 balls remaining to put paid to Canada's hopes of regaining ODI status even as his side sank to a 40-run defeat.

Starting the day with just one win, a net run rate below -1.5, and facing the undefeated Oman at United in their final fixture, PNG looked dead and buried heading into the final round. After Oman's stand-in skipper Khawar Ali sent them in to bat and Fayyaz Butt tore apart the top order, most had written them off altogether. Butt's four consecutive wickets had removed the top order for just 30 runs, and only two more had been added when Assad Vala, who had provided the only real resistance against the USA, edged Mohammad Nadeem behind to become the 5th PNG bat to fall for single figures.

When Kiplin Doriga and Sese Bau came together for the sixth-wicket PNG were on 32 for 5 - familiar territory in a tournament where they have repeatedly flopped with the bat - but by the time that sixth wicket fell, there were 161 runs on the board. Nadeem was the man to break the stand as Doriga went for 65, and would take two more before the close, but Sese Bau stuck around with the tail to see PNG past the 200-mark and handy cameos from Norman Vanua and Simon Atai took them to a competitive 221 for 8 at the close. PNG had come close to defending far lower scores against Namibia and Canada earlier in the week, and given the way that games were unfolding across time might have just fancied their chances at the break.

They will have fancied them still more two balls into the Oman chase, left-arm quick Nosaina Pokana having claimed a brace of wicket with his first two deliveries, clean-bowling Jatinder Singh and the giving Dorig his first catch of the innings behind the stumps via the edge of Aaqib Ilyas. Doriga would bag four more catches in the innings along with a run-out and a stumping as Oman collapsed in a heap. Pokana would complete a maiden List A five-wicket haul including two in the ninth over punctuated by a run-out as Oman collapse to 23 for 6.

Chad Soper chipped in with three wickets to ensure there would be no recovery as Khawar Ali watched all nine wickets fall from the other end. The Oman stand-in skipper would carry his bat for 29 off 72 as he watched his partners fall in succession, the eventual 145-run margin of defeat enough to send Oman's net run rate into the negative, meaning that for the second time in a row the team finishing at the top of the WCL Division 2 table had been more scored against than scoring throughout the week.

The comprehensive victory also had the effect of slashing PNG's net run rate deficit to -0.4026, all four decimal places called for over at Wanderers where the numbers complicated Canada's situation as they sought to defend 255 against the United States. Davneet Dhaliwal's maiden List A century had provided the foundation for that total. Weathering Ali Khan's early spell even as two wickets fell at the other end, Dhaliwal added 125 with Nitish Kumar and another 98 in partnership with skipper Davy Jacobs as the USA bowlers toiled in the heat. Ali aside, the American attack rather lacked for penetration on what looked an increasingly flat deck, Steven Taylor the only other bowler to find reward with the wicket of Kumar, who departed for a comparatively sedate 58 off 92, caught at cover. Jacobs and Dhaliwal would remain together into the death, when Khan returned and found Jacob's edge end his run-a-ball innings of 57. Dhaliwal finished unbeaten on 121, though 255 perhaps still looked a shade under par at the break.

The American reply got off to a poor start as Ergana trapped Xavier Marshall in front in the second over to claim the first of his four wickets, and though the top order all got starts, Jaskaran Malhotra would be the only American to pass 50 as regular wickets pegged back the chase and the required rate began to edge up. A double strike from Ergana in the 41st over put the US on the back foot at 176 for 6 headed into the death, just as news from United began to filter through.

Ergana would bag another on the final ball of the 43rd, Aaron Jones edging behind for 33, and when Saad bin Zafar struck in the next over, the Americans seemed to lose interest in the chase. Skipper Saurabh Netravalkar was the man to go, driving bin Zafar to short cover into the hands of Davy Jacobs, who had handed off the gloves to Wijeyeratne for the death overs, leaving the States at 192 for 8 with 64 required off the last 6.3 overs.

For Canada, the calculation was a different one. They needed to hold the USA under 212 in order to stay ahead of PNG, but the US weren't going to make it easy for them. Though bin Zafar struck again in his next over to have Ali Khan caught behind, Canada continued to leak runs through nervy misfield and overthrows and the batsmen continued to knock the ball around cautiously even as the notional required rate kept climbing. By then the NRR equation was known to all, and the USA seemed determined just to deny their neighbours. There would be just one boundary struck in the final 7 overs, No.11 Nostush Kenjige running bin Zafar down to the rope at third man in the final over for the four runs that took them past the fateful number. They would be the last runs of the game, and if there were any doubt as to whether the USA camp knew of their significance it was removed by the sustained applause that ensued in the American dugout.

The result will keep the United States out of the final, but it also left Canada trailing PNG by an agonising margin of 0.012 on net run rate, meaning they would drop down into 5th place and will have to wait at least another 3 years for a shot at a return to the Associate top flight.

Joining Canada in the CWC Challenge League will be Hong Kong, whose pummelling by Namibia sent them crashing to the bottom of the table. Hong Kong captain Anshuman Rath elected to put his hosts in to bat after winning the toss and then spent a full 50 overs regretting it as the local boys put on a show. Stephen Baard and Jean Bredenkamp's opening partnership of 45 was comparatively sedate, but after Bredenkamp was pinned LBW for 19 by Jhatavedh Subramanyan and JP Kotze walked out the game would turn rapidly into an exhibition. Dropped down to number 3 after struggling all tournament, Kotze came out with a point to prove, and did so eloquently.

His preferred argument took the form of hitting the ball out of the park, which he did a total of 9 times in his brutalising innings of 148 off just 86 balls. Baard proved an effective foil, himself striking 10 fours and 4 sixes in a 128-ball 122, but it was Kotze's striking that seemed to beat the life out of Hong Kong in the field. Rath would cycle through his bowlers despairingly but none managed to contain Kotze and Baard, and by the time the pair departed, both holing out in the deep in the space of four balls, the total was already at 293 and there were still 50 balls to come. JJ Smit and Zane Green made full use of them, adding another century partnership in the final 7 overs, taking the sixes count to 22 and carrying Namibia to within touching distance of 400 (or indeed quite possibly past it in light of some apparent confusion as to the final score).

It was always likely to prove beyond Hong Kong, but Anshuman Rath and Kinchit Shah batted bravely after the early loss of Atkinson, compiling a defiant 132-run stand for the 2nd wicket at better than a run a ball. At 136 for 1 in the 23rd over, Hong Kong might even have held out a little hope, but as so often with Hong Kong, hope did not long survive Rath's departure from the middle. It was Craig Williams that took the key wicket this time, having done for Shah in the previous over. Down the order Babar Hayat, Scott McKechnie and Ehsan Khan chipped in some runs to see Hong Kong to a total of 245, and Rath's 76 keeps him at the top of the run-scoring tables for the tournament, but that will be of little comfort as they head to United for the wooden spoon play-off against Canada to decide in which of the two Challenge League groups they'll be playing their List A cricket, whilst the other four teams play are playing their ODIs.

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