ICC Media Release
Rarua Dikana's remarkable tournament continued on day two of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 (WCL Div. 3) as the Papua New Guinea (PNG) skipper took five wickets for the second consecutive day helping his side achieve an exciting 21-run win over Argentina in Buenos Aires.
Dikana recorded outstanding figures of 5-5, leaving him with tournament statistics of 10-19, putting his side top the table with Uganda, which enjoyed a comfortable nine-wicket over Cayman Islands, while Afghanistan got its campaign on track with a tense 13-run win over Hong Kong.
'It is so far, so good for us,' said Dikana afterwards. 'I am enjoying my time with the ball in this tournament. I concentrate on bowling in the right areas and we do a lot of work on this and try and make the batsmen play.'
Vani Vagi Morea was again in good form for PNG as his belligerent 39 off 35 balls set a platform for his side to post a large total against Argentina.
But the hosts, who had suffered a heavy defeat to Hong Kong on the opening day of the event, fought back bravely and Diego Lord's four wickets helped reduce PNG to just 127 all out.
However, Argentina lost regular wickets in reply and Dikana's dramatic bowling spell left the hosts regretting some poor batting. Dikana, who took 5-14 in his opening match against Cayman Isands, is now looking forward to taking on the challenge of Uganda in Tuesday's match at Belgrano.
'I think there's still a long way to go, but two wins from two games is good,' said Dikana.
'We still have a lot of improvements to make, especially in our batting, and we need to play better against Uganda.'
Afghanistan got its campaign back on track after an excellent 13-run victory over Hong Kong at Belgrano.
But Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan admitted it was another nail-biting finish, after partnerships of 62 and 36 for Hong Kong's ninth and 10th wickets put it in touching distance of the Afghanistan total.
'It was a very good game. There were plenty of nerves but I was very confident in my team and it was a good win for us as it kept alive our hopes in the tournament,' said Kabir.
'I was worried as we didn't have any of our regular bowlers left and Nabi started bowling medium-pace as it is a short ground and it doesn't spin and anything could go for six.
'The players have started thinking now and they are adjusting to different situations which makes me proud to be with them and proud to be their coach.'
Afghanistan's top order, which on Saturday had collapsed to 23-5, showed much greater stability against a disciplined Hong Kong bowling attack, in a repeat of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 4 final.
Openers Karim Khan and Shafiqullah Shafaq demonstrated excellent shot selection in putting on a disciplined opening stand of 72, but when both fell within the space of three balls, Hong Kong was right back in the game.
Quality spin bowling from Nadeem Ahmed (2-23) and Najeeb Ahmed (2-35) helped contain some solid middle-order batting, although no one managed to go on and make a really big score, with Mohammad Nabi (40) and Norooz Mangal (35) both getting out just as they looked set for a long innings.
Samiullah Shenwari, who yesterday made an excellent half-century against Uganda, again looked in good touch and made a valuable 25 off 39 balls to help Afghanistan to 201 all out off 49.5 overs, with Roy Lamsam (3-33) and Irfan Ahmed (3-62) the leading run scorers.
A regular fall of wickets was to prove to be Hong Kong's problem, with none of the top eight batters getting to 20 as Afghanistan bowled a disciplined line and took advantage of the bouncy Belgrano track.
Some late-order hitting from Moner Ahmed, who scored 49 off 38 balls, including three consecutive sixes off Mohammad Nabi, threatened a dramatic finish to the game, but once Samiullah Shenwari bowled him, Hong Kong's challenge looked to be defeated.
But number 11 Nadeem Ahmed, who actually opened the batting in the WCL Div. 4 final as a pinch-hitter, scored a remarkable 27 off 18 balls, only to be dismissed by Mohammad Nabi when a top-edged hook was caught on the boundary edge by Mawais Naziri.
'In the end it was a good effort, especially from Moner, as he looked like he was desperate to win the game and it could have gone either way,' said Hong Kong skipper Tabarak Dar.
'He has won us the game at number eight before and we bat all the way down to 11 so we always have a chance of winning the game.'
A brilliant 81 not out from Roger Mukasa helped Uganda to an easy win over Cayman Islands, achieving its target with 26.4 overs to spare.
Cayman Islands' miserable form with the bat continued, as it was bowled out cheaply for the second day in a row, making just 104 all out, with Kenneth Kamyuka (3-6) again in the wickets.
In reply, Uganda coasted to victory and again proved why it is one of the favourites to get into the final of this tournament thus making it through to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in April.
Monday is a rest day at the tournament, with a full set of fixtures on Tuesday.