ICC Media Release
Ireland recorded a 29-run victory over Canada in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Toronto and moved closer to next year's main event to be staged in New Zealand.
After the sides from the Americas region had made a strong start to the competition, Monday turned out to be a disappointing day for them as the USA also suffered its first defeat in the tournament when it was beaten by Afghanistan by 36 runs.
In the other matches of the day, the Netherlands defeated Vanuatu by 73 runs and Hong Kong won its first game in the tournament when it beat Uganda by five runs.
Against Canada at the Malton, Ireland batted first and scored 193-8 with Graham McDonnell playing a perfectly-timed innings of 67 not out from 65 balls and Paul Stirling making a gritty 31 off 65 balls. For Canada, new-ball bowler Manny Aulkah was the pick of bowlers with 3-41.
In reply, the host side lost wickets at regular intervals to be bowled out for 164 after the top five batsmen failed to convert decent starts into good scores. Ireland spinner Lee Nelson was the destroyer-in-chief of Canada's innings and finished with brilliant figures of 3-26 from 10 overs.
McDonnell, who was declared man of the match, said: 'It feels pretty good to win the award and the game even though it was a pretty average performance. It was a difficult wicket to bat on as the outfield was pretty big and the wicket was turning a lot. It was hard to score run-a-ball but a few boundaries helped.
'Having played in Malaysia at the last World Cup, we know what it is like and how much of a big deal it is to play for your country at that event.'
At the Maple Leaf 2, Afghanistan recorded an excellent 36 runs victory over the USA.
The star of Afghanistan's batting was opener Iqbal Maliki who scored a valuable 72 off 102 balls with four fours and a six. It was Maliki's knock that laid the foundation for a good total of 241-9 off 50 overs.
Maliki was well assisted by Jawid Ahmadi (38) with whom he added 57 runs for the second wicket while Ayan Aminzai (36) and Khoshal Rasuli (36) provided the late impetus to the innings by adding 61 runs for the eighth wicket in little over 11 overs.
In reply, Azurdeen Mohammed's brilliant knock of 90 was overshadowed by a match-winning bowling spell by Aimal Wafa (4-36) as the USA was bowled out for 205 in 49.1 overs. Opener Mohammed faced 146 balls and six fours before becoming the ninth batsman to be dismissed at the score of 199. Mohammed put on 68 runs for the first wicket with Abhijit Joshi (28).
At the Maple Leaf 4, Hong Kong made 189-9 off 50 overs against Uganda despite the fact that its top score was just 27 made by Ashish Gadhia as nine other batsmen reached double figures but failed to reach 30.
In reply, the African side fell agonisingly short of its victory target as it was bowled out for 184 in the 48 overs to put its hopes of qualify for New Zealand in doubt. Emmanuel Nakana (46) and Ahmed Yakub (45) were the main run-getters for Uganda while Henry Ssenyondo chipped in with 33.
For Hong Kong, Aizaz Khan was the most successful bowler with 3-36 while Irfan Ahmed picked up 2-36.
Hong Kong captain Jamie Atkinson, reflecting on his team's success against Uganda, said: 'We are delighted to win the match. We knew how important this game was going to be if we are going to qualify for the World Cup. It has given us a massive lift for the next three matches we have got.
'Every match from now is a must-win match for us as if we want to keep ourselves in hunt for the New Zealand tournament.'
In the final match of the day at Maple Leaf 1, Netherlands defeated Vanuatu by 73 runs. Put into bat, the Dutch were led by Vinoo Baldewpersad Tewarie (52) and Tim Gruijters (44) as it posted 270-8 from its allotted overs.
However, it was a quick-fire 13-ball 31 by Paul van Meekeren with four fours and one six that changed the complexion of the game and provided the much-needed lift for the Netherlands. In reply, Vanuatu was dismissed for 197 in 48 overs with Lucas Brouwers and Okke Olivier Klaus both taking three wickets and in the meantime keeping Tim Gruijters' dreams of a World Cup qualification on track.
'We are all very happy and it was a good performance and a good game,' said Gruijters, adding: 'We think we can qualify for the World Cup as all the batsman in the top six have shown they can bat properly and score runs. We are feeling very confident.
'Paul's innings was very important as it really shifted the momentum of the game. He hit the ball cleanly and it made a really big difference to us.'