ICC Media Release
Two wickets by Ronald Ssemanda in the final over of a sensational match against Hong Kong handed Uganda a dramatic one-run win in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3.
With Afghanistan ending Papua New Guinea's unbeaten run at the tournament after an inspired performance by stand-in captain Karim Khan, three teams now sit level on points after the fourth round of matches.
And despite the agony of the defeat, Hong Kong still remains in contention at this tournament, although it will be reliant on some shock results if it is achieve a top-two finish.
This means four sides go into Friday's final group matches with the potential to win one of the two remaining spots at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in April on what should be an exciting finale to the group stages of the event.
Should teams be tied on equal points and equal wins in the round-robin matches, places will be determined by who has the higher net run-rate, and if the teams are still equal the team with the higher number of wickets taken per balls bowled in the round-robin matches in which results were achieved will be placed in the higher position.
Uganda's man of the match Kenneth Kamyuka, who followed up yet another valuable contribution with the bat in the lower-order with four wickets, admitted that his side had turned around what had looked like an impossible situation when Hong Kong was 160-5 with almost five overs remaining and paid tribute to his coach, Ebrahim Mohamed, for the side's tough mental resolve.
'The coach has helped us with these situations by working on the mental side of our game. He has told us we should be soldiers and fight to the last ball,' said Kamyuka.
'I enjoy bowling when there is a lot of pressure on the batsmen.'
Needing just 21 runs for victory, with five wickets in hand and 27 balls remaining, Hong Kong looked all set for victory, after an 84-run third-wicket partnership from Butt Hussain (52) and Manoj Cheruparambil (51) had helped it recover from the loss of two early wickets.
But inspired bowling from Kamyuka and Ssemanda created one of the most memorable finishes to a game in the history of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League.
With just three runs required for victory in the final over, Ssemanda first dismissed Zain Abbas (35) before Jamie Atkinson was trapped lbw with Hong Kong one run short of its target.
Earlier in the day, Roger Mukasa's 67 provided the foundation for Uganda's 180 all out, with Moner Ahmed the pick of the bowlers with 4-30.
'I didn't give up hope as we have been in these type of situations before and from the moment we got a couple of late wickets, there was always a chance and we were determined to fight until the last ball,' said Ebrahim Mohamed, Uganda coach.
His opposite number, Aftab Habib, admitted that he was devastated by the result but was extremely proud of the effort put in by his side.
'To be honest we were cruising the game and then all of a sudden we lost five wickets for 19 runs. We weren't quite good enough, but I'm proud of the guys and the amount of effort they put in,' said Habib.
'There was pressure through the whole of the game and the boys felt a bit hard done by in the end.'
Afghanistan stand-in captain Karim Khan led the way for his team with an outstanding individual display in a comfortable eight-wicket win over PNG and believes his side is well placed to win Friday's fixture against Cayman Islands.
'I am very proud that I captained my country, took six catches and scored a 50, so I am very happy. I am also pleased we have helped our net run-rate and hopefully we go out and win on Friday,' said Karim.
'We beat Cayman Islands in a practice match before this tournament and we have our captain coming back for this match so I am hopeful that we can win.
'It is my dream to get my very poor country to the World Cup. All of our people want to watch our country play in the tournament and watch the games live on television.'
PNG chose to bat first despite the fact overnight rain had made conditions tricky for batting in on what was a humid, overcast day in Buenos Aires. And there may have been some regret there as the team slumped to 29-4, a mess from which it never full recovered as it was eventually dismissed for 93 in 31 overs.
Fast bowler Hamid Hassan's gradual improvement in the tournament continued with a three-wicket haul, although it was a strong all-round bowling display from Afghanistan, well supported behind the stumps by Karim Khan.
With net run-rate likely to come into contention on Friday in deciding who will finish in the top two of the table, Afghanistan played in typically aggressive fashion and Karim's 43-ball 50, which included eight fours, ensured that the match ended even before the lunch interval was due.
'We let ourselves down in the batting and it was always going to be hard to defend a small total like that,' said PNG captain Rarua Dikana.
'We need to work hard on our batting and if we put on a good score we should be able to defend it given our bowling strength. We have been quietly confident throughout and hopefully we will do well on Friday.'
Meanwhile, Argentina skipper Esteban MacDermott admitted he was desperately disappointed after the host lost to Cayman Islands by six wickets.
The fourth consecutive defeat in this tournament means his side is now relegated to the WCL Div. 4 but MacDermott vowed that his team was determined to respond in a positive manner.
'We will have to adapt and face up to the situation we are in and we will look to get promotion from Division 4,' said MacDermott.
'The tournament is not over yet and we owe it to the people who come to watch our matches and we owe it to ourselves to do our best in our last two games.'
A hard-hitting innings from opener Lucas Paterlini (70) got Argentina off to an excellent start in its innings but once again a middle-order collapse was to prove costly as it only managed a disappointing 165 all out.
In reply, an excellent knock from Ramon Sealy (66 not out) was enough to bring his side home and give the Cayman Islands its first win at the event.
'It's good to get a win at this event. We were always confident of reaching the target as it wasn't that big a total but it was nice to get a victory,' said Sealy.
In Friday's matches, Argentina plays Uganda, PNG faces Hong Kong, while Afghanistan takes on Cayman Islands.