Defeat for USA and victory for Bahrain open things up
Over the first three days the pattern of results in Kathmandu had seemed clear-cut, but Wednesday's matches three things wide open at both top and bottom of the table, setting up a tense and fascinating situation for Friday's final set of round-robin games.
At the top end, it was Singapore's 99-run victory over the previously-unbeaten USA which put the cat among the pigeons, while lower down Bahrain's first win of the week, at the expense of Jersey by a 27-run margin, gave them some hope of escaping the threat of a quick return to Division 6.
Nepal beat Fiji by 193 runs, and are sitting pretty two points clear at the top of the table. The big margin of victory also improved their net run rate to the point that, even should they lose to the Americans on Friday and Singapore beat Jersey, they are unlikely to finish third and miss out on promotion.
Singapore, with the worst net run rate of the three, must make sure of the win against Jersey and hope that either Nepal win their final game, or that their own margin of victory is large enough and the Americans' small enough - or much less probably, massive enough - to enable them to overtake one of their rivals.
Fiji, still without a win and seemingly doomed to be relegated again, having already dropped down from Division 4 to Division 5, have the chance to spoil Bahrain's week by beating them on Friday. But which two teams go down might also be settled on run rate, should Bahrain and Jersey both lose - or both win.
One thing is certain: anyone with a calculator in Kathmandu on Friday is likely to be much in demand.
In Wednesday's matches, Nepal made sure of retaining their unbeaten record with a comprehensive win over Fiji, who again demonstrated their inability to chase a target with any conviction. They had recently done rather better batting first, but when Nepal won the toss and elected to bat the hosts set them a daunting 267 for seven, despite having been reduced to 35 for three by a sharp spell from Tukana Tavo, the writing was on the wall.
The Nepalese were rescued by a fourth-wicket stand of 130 between Paras Khadka, whose 75 was his third half-century in four innings, and Sharad Vesawkar, who went on to complete the first century of the tournament, finishing on 105 not out.
With opener Joji Bulabalavu injured and unable to bat, Fiji were soon in trouble, Basanta Regmi again among the wickets with four for 11 from 34 deliveries as the Fijians collapsed in 26.4 overs to 74 all out.
The big news, however, came from the Engineering Campus Ground, where an American batting collapse against Singapore cost them their undefeated record. Singapore had reached 245 for nine, thanks to a solid opening stand of 64 between Chetan Suryawanshi and Buddika Mendis, a valuable half-century from Narender Reddy, and a hard-hitting, 29-ball 45 by Pramodh Raja.
Kevin Darlington was the main wicket-taker for the USA, but his four wickets came at a cost of 64 runs.
The Americans' reply got off to the worst possible start when Sushil Nadkarni was caught behind off the first ball of the innings, bowled by Saad Janjua, and they never really recovered. Steve Massiah held things together for a time with a steady 50, but wickets kept falling at the other end, and once he was out the end came fairly quickly as the side was dismissed for 146.
Jackie Manoj Kumar took four for 23, and there were two wickets apiece for Janjua and Reddy.
The closest battle was at the Army School, where Jersey fell just short in chasing Bahrain's total of 264 for seven. Such a score had seemed improbable when the Bahrainis were on 82 for five, and later on 145 for six, but the lower order hit their way out of trouble.
First Azeem ul Haque made 48, and after he departed Qamar Saeed (50 not out) and Tahir Dar (44 not out) added a crucial 94 from the final ten overs in an unbroken partnership, just one run fewer than the WCL record for the eighth wicket set by Tahir and Shahzad Ahmed against Singapore in the Division 6 tournament last September.
Jersey again made a good start despite losing Matthew Hague in the third over, Dean Morrison making a 44-ball 49 and then Ryan Driver and Peter Gough putting on 87 for the fourth wicket. Gough's dismissal for 38 triggered a middle-order collapse, however, and 172 for three quickly became 176 for six.
But Driver was still there, and in partnership with Bobby Minty, he negotiated his side to the point where 63 were needed off the last 42 deliveries. That was a big ask, and when Driver was run out for 80 off the first ball of the 44th over, Jersey's chase was effectively over. Qamar Saeed cleaned up the tail to finish with six for 33, and the innings ended in the 47th over.