Rollercoaster qualifier continues
The World T20 Qualifier continues to live up to its burgeoning reputation as a hard to predict tournament after the seventh day of action today in the UAE.
The main surprise of the day came at Abu Dhabi's Tolerance Oval as a Hong Kong side that initially barely looked like winning a game until yesterday beat a Canadian side that was the only unbeaten team in the group.
Hong Kong batted first, and quickly found themselves three down with 24 runs on the board. Kinchit Shah then held up an end, putting on two 30+ partnerships for the fourth and fifth wicket with Waqas Barkat and Haroon Arshad respectively. Him and Scott McKechnie then put on 50 for the sixth to take Hong Kong from 98-5 to 148-6.
Shah finished the innings unbeaten on 59 as Hong Kong posted 150-7 from their 20 overs, setting what would prove to be too stiff of a target for the Canadians. None of their batsmen were able to get any sort of start with Rizwan Cheema's 20 the top score. Nasrulla Rana was the leading bowler with 3-25 as Canada were kept to 118-9, losing by 32 runs.
Earlier on the same ground, Nigeria recovered from 22-3 to post 111-3 thanks to a 89 run partnership between Chimezie Onwuzulike and Sesan Adedeji, who scored 46 and 51 respectively. There was a brief scare for the UAE in their chase when they went from 78-1 to 91-5, but the UAE held on to win by five wickets thanks to 55 from Zawar Farid.
At the ICC Academy, the Netherlands initially found runs hard to come by against Papua New Guinea, and were 74-7 in the 15th over before Pieter Seelaar and Timm van der Gugten put on an unbroken 52 run partnership to bring a degree of respectability to the Dutch total, the latter scoring 40 from just 21 balls, his highest score in T20 cricket.
A total of 126-7 was unlikely to be enough, and whilst PNG took until the penultimate over to complete the win, they were never really in trouble. Asad Vala top socred with 37 whilst Sese Bau took them home with an unbeaten 34 to secure a five wicket win.
The final match of the day was the first one at the Dubai International Stadium with Scotland taking on Bermuda under the lights. Put into bat, Scotland put the Bermuda bowlers to the sword. George Munsey scored 51, sharing in a 76 run partnership for the third wicket with Calum MacLeod.
MacLeod and Richie Berrington then put on 73 to take Scotland to the first 200 plus score of the tournament. MacLeod was dismissed for 74 from the final ball of the innings, with Berrington not out on 34 in the total of 204-4.
Bermuda's reply was highlighted by two big hitting displays, with Delray Rawlins clubbing 46 from 21 balls and Kamau Leverock having a late order slog and scoring 43 not out from 24 balls. No other Bermuda batsman made any sort of useful contribution and they were kept to 158-8 from their 20 overs, losing by 46 runs.
The result meant that Bermuda were the first team eliminated from contention for World Cup qualification, but they still have one more game to come on Saturday. Four more matches will take place tomorrow. In Group A - in which every match will now take place at the Dubai International Stadium - Papua New Guinea will play Singapore in the morning whilst Namibia will take on Kenya in the afternoon. In Group B, Jersey will have their first ever match against a full member when they take on Ireland in the morning, before Oman play Canada under the lights at the main Abu Dhabi stadium in the evening.