ICC Media Release
Jamie Brazier's four wickets helped Papua New Guinea (PNG) secure its place at the top of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 (WCL Div. 3) after a surprise 26-run win over Uganda.
And with Afghanistan and Hong Kong also recording victories on a dramatic day of action in Buenos Aries, the race to secure the two remaining places at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier is wide open.
Afterwards, PNG coach Martin Gleeson was clearly delighted that his side has overcome the challenge of Uganda, which won the last staging of this WCL Div. 3 event less than two years ago in Darwin.
'It was a great result for us. There is still a bit of work to do and there is some room for improvement, but we have got the bowling right,' said Gleeson.
'We are very disciplined and we have worked hard on our bowling. We have good variety, with pace, spin and some medium-pace and have worked on getting the right line and length.'
But Gleeson was also keen to play down the fact his side is potentially one win from securing a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, although it still has some tough games ahead of it.
'We're not getting ahead of ourselves at this stage. We still have Afghanistan and Hong Kong to play so we plan to continue just taking each game day by day,' said Gleeson.
'Afghanistan will provide a big test and after a little bit of a stumble, they seem to be gathering momentum and I think it should be a great match.'
PNG recovered from the loss of two early wickets against Uganda to post a respectable target, with Peter Moide holding the innings together with 43 not out off 83 balls.
However, credit should go to the Uganda bowlers who managed to close out the PNG innings with good effective bowling, reducing it from 126-5 with more than 11 overs of the innings remaining to 165 all out.
In reply, Uganda also looked to be cruising at 67-2 but once Arthur Kyobe (33) was dismissed by four-wicket hero Jamie Brazier, the middle-order crumbled and even a last wicket stand of 28 could not deny PNG victory, with Kenneth Kamyuka, who had earlier taken three wickets, left stranded on 34 not out.
Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan praised the spirit of his team after yet another dramatic victory, narrowly scraping past Argentina by 19 runs.
'The best thing about our team is that they are fighting back when the game seems to be slipping out of our hands,' said Kabir.
'They never give up, they just keep on fighting, and that is the true Afghan spirit.'
Argentina put Afghanistan under early pressure and consistently broke down partnerships just as batsmen were beginning to look dangerous. Opener Ahmad Shah top-scored with 44 in a disappointing total of 164 all out, the third consecutive time in this tournament that the side has failed to bat out the full 50 overs. Many of the star names in the Afghanistan side once again failed to perform to the best of their ability.
Argentina player-coach Hamish Barton was in outstanding form, taking 3-12 off his 10 overs, including four consecutive maidens.
Opening the batting, it was Barton again who led the counter-attack with an aggressive 33 but once he was out the frailty of the host team's batting was on show again as it suffered a dramatic collapse with the spin of Ahmad Shah (2-21) and Mohammad Nabi (2-24) causing problems.
But Argentina has a reputation for fighting hard and some powerful late-order hitting from Diego Lord, who had earlier taken two wickets, meant for the third match in this event Afghanistan was facing a dramatic finish.
However, Lord was eventually run out leaving the home side 19 runs short of its target.
The Afghanistan coach admitted it had been another nerve-wracking game to watch and that it proved the competitiveness of the WCL Div. 3.
'Anybody can beat anybody else in this tournament and that is why it is still wide open and we need to work hard to get our place in the final two,' said Kabir.
'If we can beat PNG it will gave us the confidence to go into the game against the tournament's weakest team but the Cayman Islands have done really well in the last few years and you never know what they are going to do against us.'
In the other game of the day, Hong Kong handed Cayman Islands its third straight defeat to keep Tabarak Dar's dream of ICC Cricket World Cup qualification alive.
Hong Kong posted a target of 210 all out off 46.3 overs, with Manoj Cheruparambil hitting an impressive 85, the highest individual score of the tournament so far, with good support from fellow opener Roy Lamsam (60).
And a regular flurry of wickets saw Cayman Islands finally dismissed for 161 all out, 49 runs short of its target, with Zain Abbas (4-28) the pick of the bowlers.