The Papua New Guinea Clinch T20 WC-spot, In Ireland, On The Threshold > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Papua New Guinea clinch T20 WC spot, Ireland on the cusp

Vanua bagged three wickets and compiled a crucial hand of 54 for PNG

On a mad final day of group play that began with no less than eight of the fourteen teams at the T20 WC Qualifier in at least arithmetic contention for the top spots in the two groups and automatic qualification for the T20 WC in Australia, and with net run rate spreadsheets running hot through the day, it was Papua New Guinea, with a come-back win against Kenya, and Ireland, who did not even play, who would top their respective groups to book spots in the semi-finals and secure their place at the World Cup.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands, Namibia, Scotland, Oman, the UAE and Hong Kong kept their hopes alive by securing top four finishes and a place in the play-offs. The Netherlands, Namibia and Scotland finished second, third and fourth respectively in Group A, while Oman, the UAE and Hong Kong got through from Group B.

The Netherlands will take on the UAE while Namibia will face Oman in the semifinal play-offs. The winners of these matches will qualify for the semifinals and also earn berths for the T20 WC. Scotland and Hong Kong will contest in the fifth place playoffs. Two among these six teams will be eliminated from the T20 WC qualification race.

Hong Kong came close to guaranteeing themselves the fourth-place spot and a place and the one-off shot at qualification in the morning match at the Tolerance Oval, holding Nigeria to 81-8 and going hell-for-leather after the target to chase it in 43 balls. Had they managed it in 35 they would have been assured of the fourth spot over the loser of the evening game between Canada and the UAE, and putting distance between themselves and Jersey, who mounted their own charge against Oman in the afternoon. As it was they left a window for the UAE to squeeze through on a narrow loss, and left Jersey needing a 60+run win over Oman.

A 30-run opening partnership between Sulaimon Runsewe and Daniel Ajeku frustrated Hong Kong until the sixth over before a double strike from Aizaz Khan removed Ajeku for 14 and then Chimezie Onwuzulike for a duck. The introduction of Mohammad Ghazanfar's legspin two overs later had the same effect, having Runsewe caught behind and then Gershon Yusuf bowled on the next ball. Skipper Ademola Onikoyi offered some resistance from number four, seeing off 35 balls for 18, and Isaac Okpe hit 12 off 14 down the order, but no other Nigerian bat made double figures. With 82 to get Hong Kong had set themselves up well for a run rate blitz, and threw caution and wickets to the wind as they looked to chase as fast as possible. Nazakat Khan hit 21 off 9 from the top, and Kinchit Shah 25 from 10 from number three even as wickets fell regularly. Hong Kong lost five in the end but completed the chase on the first ball of the eighth over, nine balls later than they might have liked but nonetheless making themselves favourites for the fourth spot ahead of the decisive evening game.

Over in Dubai Papua New Guinea briefly looked like crashing down from their lofty position at the top of Group B, and Kenya threatened to haul themselves back into contention for the playoffs before a splendid fighting half century from Norman Vanua first arrested a spectacular collapse and then wrested the initiative from Kenya, who eventually slid to a 45-run defeat. How different it had looked early as Emmanuel Ringera, into the Kenya side for first time in the tournament, ripped through the Papuan top order with the swinging new ball, taking three wickets in his first over to send Tony Ura, Assad Vala and Charles Amini back to the dressing rooms. Lucas Olouch got in on the fun in the next, removing Lega Siaka and Riley Heukre as the Papuan bats seemed compelled to flash at every ball, Ringera bagging his fourth in the fourth over as Kiplin Doriga was caught behind for 4, left PNG in tatters at 19-6.

That would prove the high-point for Kenya, of the match, the tournament, and arguably the last few years. Ringera was inexplicably removed from the attack, Shem Ngoche throwing the ball to Sachin Bhudia and then taking over himself at the other end. Vanua and Sese Bau took full advantage of the reprieve, first consolidating and then Vanua accelerating, their 75-ball partnership adding 77 runs as Kenya let the game drift. Collins Obuya removed both in the space of three balls when he was finally brought back to bowl the 17th over, but by then Kenya's chances of a big enough victory to give themselves hope were all but nil. As it was they wouldn't get any sort of win.

PNG recovered to post 118 before being bowled out with three balls to go, and Kenya got nowhere near it. Vanua followed up his heroics with the bat by bagging the wicket of Dhiren Gondaria in the first over. Irfan Karim punched Damien Ravu to short midwicket on the final ball of the powerplay after hitting four fours in a 22-ball 29. They were the only boundaries of the innings as Vala brought himself on and claimed three wickets in three overs to rip out the Kenyan middle order, while Vanua and Noisana Pokana cleaned up the tail as Kenya slumped to 73 all out.

The 45-run win meant PNG's imperious net run rate advantage barely moved, staying at a shade under 2.1, and the Netherlands' calculations for the afternoon game remained essentially unchanged. They needed a big win over Scotland to top the group, about sixty runs or, as it would turn out, to chase with 7.3 overs to spare. They gave themselves every chance, restricting Scotland to 130-8 after sending them in to bat, not nearly the most daunting total they have faced under similar circumstances. Nonetheless it proved beyond them.

Matt Cross fought back hard for Scotland after Colin Ackermann cleaned up the dangerous George Munsey, who missed a slog-sweep in the second over. However, the rest of the Scottish top order struggled in the face of a fired-up Dutch attack. Captain Pieter Seelaar had opposite number Kyle Coetzer caught for a belaboured 17 in the eighth over, and Calum Macleod lasted just three balls before being given LBW to Brandon Glover. The rest of the batsmen fared little better, with Michael Leask and Craig Wallace falling in single figures - the latter becoming Seelaar's 50th T20I wicket - and Cross finally falling one ball later, nicking off to Timm van der Gugten for a 44-ball 52. A couple of late boundaries from Josh Davey saw them to the 130-mark, which proved 30 too many for the Dutch.

Toby Visee, returning from a finger infection, and opening partner Max O'Dowd, did more harm than good at the top of the order as they used up 13 valuable balls between them for just 7 runs, and when acceleration came it was already too late. Ben Cooper fell just as he was beginning to look fluent, contriving to edge a short and wide delivery from Davey through to Cross, but Colin Ackermann and Ryan ten Doeschate still believed. Ackermann was initially subdued but ten Doeschate was fluent from the start, as the pair added 59 runs in the space of five overs to put the Dutch on 90-3 at the end of the tenth, needing 41 off 2.5 overs. Mark Watt spoiled the climax, however, striking twice in the 11th to remove Ackermann and the big-hitting Roelof van der Merwe. Seelaar walked to the crease to join ten Doeschate facing a nigh-impossible task. Seelaar departed, rather poetically perhaps, on the third ball of the 12th given out stumped to Mark Watt as the watching Papuan team erupted in cheers. Little did it matter that the required rate for the Dutch to pass them had long been more than six a ball, and little did it matter that Seelaar's foot never left the crease.

With both teams having failed in their ambitions for the game, the denouncement was rather anti-climactic. The Papuans departed to celebrate their first ever qualification for a World Cup, leaving the Dutch to close out the win without further incident, Scott Edwards joining ten Doeschate to see through the chase.

At the same time in Abu Dhabi, Jersey were mounting their last-ditch attempt on the fourth spot, but likewise succeeded only in acting as a spoiler for Oman. After a bright start from Nicks Ferraby and Greenwood, who added 60 for Jesrey's first wicket in 7.3 overs, Mohammad Nadeem pulled the rug from under the Jersey innings. He removed both openers in the space of three balls, going on to claim two more wickets in the form of Ben Stevens and Jonty Jenner to take the top off the Jersey order. A late rally from Dom Blampied and Anthony Hawkins-Kay lifted Jeresey to 141-7 by the break, but needing a 60+ run margin of victory to overtake Hong Kong in fourth, it looked entirely insufficient for Jersey's purposes.

It looked rather different two overs into the Oman chase after Blampied struck thrice in his first over to have Oman reeling on 6-3. But skipper Zeeshan Maqsood marshalled a recovery, striking a 47-ball 56 to sink Jersey's hopes of taking them past the crucial 82-run mark around the same time that Seelaar fell in Dubai. Maqssod's efforts was enough to thwart Jersey, but not enough to see his own team past Ireland and on to the semi-finals. Visibly struggling with the intense heat, Maqsood fell to his counterpart Charles Perchard with 38 still needed, and the tail fell 14 runs short.

The final match of the group stage, contested between the UAE and Canada, finished with the hosts registering a 14-run victory. A huge margin of victory - a win by more than 150 runs - would have resulted in the UAE pipping Ireland to the top spot but that wasn't the case, and Ireland's superior NRR helped them finish first in the group.

Asked to bat, the UAE lost early wickets and were reduced to 48 for 3. But Muhammad Usman's unbeaten 89 off 63 aided in the team's recovery, with the No. 4 batsmen finding support in the form of Rameez Shahzad and Darius D'Silva as the hosts finished with a total of 154 for 5. Canada skipper Navneet Dhaliwal struck a 36-ball 41 as he tried to keep his team in the hunt. But Canada lost quick wickets before the business end of the chase as the UAE gained control of the game. Nicholas Kirton scored an unbeaten 37 but his strike rate - 94.87 - didn't help matters for Canada, who ended up being restricted to 140 for 5.

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