Papua New Guinea and Ireland book tickets to Australia
After another remarkable days play in the UAE, the group stage has come to its conclusion with Papua New Guinea and Ireland topping their respective groups.
Papua New Guinea qualified from group A in quite spectacular fashion. Put into bat at the Dubai international stadium, they quickly collapsed to just 19-6, but Norman Vanua and Sese Bau - predominately the former - put on 77 to get their team back in the game before both fell in the 17th over, Vanua having scored 54.
The final PNG total was 118 with Emmanuel Bundi taking 4-18. Not a particularly challenging total, but a remarkable one given their start. Even more surprisingly, they were able to defend that total, bowling superbly to dismiss Kenya for 73 to win by 45 runs. Nosaina Pokana and Asad Vala both took three wickets whilst Vanua did it with the ball too, taking 2-19.
PNG's attention then turned to the Netherlands v Scotland match that followed them on the same ground. The Scots were put into bat by Dutch captain and only Matthew Cross was able to make a significant contribution, scoring 52 in the Scotland total of 130-8.
The net run rate calculations showed that the Netherlands had to reach their target in 12.3 overs to pass PNG and top the group, and after losing both openers cheaply, they were put on the back foot. They kept plugging away, but when the 12.3 over mark was reached with the Dutch still short of their target, the Papua New Guinea players in the crowd erupted in cheers.
The Dutch batted on and won by four wickets with Ryan ten Doeschate finishing unbeaten on 51 from 35 balls, but the real story was Papua New Guinea qualifying for their first senior World Cup. The Dutch finished second in the group and will get two chances at qualifying, whilst Scotland have to win two out of two play-off matches if they're to qualify.
The first match in Group B saw Hong Kong take on Nigeria. Hong Kong needed a big win to get their net run rate up and give them a chance at qualification, which they did by restricting Nigeria to 81-8 and then knocking off their target in 7.1 overs to win by 5 wickets to lift their net run rate above that of Canada.
Attention then turned to the main Sheikh Zayed stadium where Jersey were taking on Oman in the afternoon game, needing a big win to stay in with a chance of qualification. Put into bat, they started really well, openers Nick Ferraby and Nick Greenwood putting on 60 for the first wicket before the latter was out for 22.
Ferraby was the third man out 41 as the Omani bowlers tightened their grip. Mohammed Nadeem bowled particularly well to take 4-23. The lower order did battle back a little to post a competitive 141-7, but with a 60 run win needed to stay in with a qualification chance, it wasn't looking too great for Jersey.
But when Dom Blampied took three wickets in the second over to leave Oman reeling on 6-3, Jersey were feeling confident. But Omani captain Zeeshan Maqsood had other ideas and played what was a superb innings in the circumstances. He and Jatinder Singh put on 76 to take Oman to the score that would deny Jersey before Singh was out for 29 from the next delivery.
Maqsood, who at times appeared to be struggling in the hot conditions, eventually got out for 56. With him out, Oman began to find runs harder to come by and they were kept to 127-9 from their 20 overs, Elliot Miles joining Blampied in picking up three wickets. A 14 run win for Jersey, but not enough to break into the top 4.
That result meant that Oman wouldn't top the group, and barring something spectacular in the last match of the first round between Canada and the UAE, secured Ireland's place in Australia as they were now top of the group with a big net run rate lead.
The UAE were put into bat in that match, quickly losing both openers. But a fine unbeaten 89 from 63 balls by Muhammad Usman helped them score 154-5 from their 20 overs, Saad Bin Zafar taking 3-21 for the Canadians. The something spectacular that needed to happen was therefore Canada chasing in 3.2 overs or the UAE bowling Canada out for under 33. Once Canada had reached 33 in their innings, Ireland's place in Australia was secured.
There was still life in the match though with Canada knowing that a win would put them in the play-offs, and if they could do it in under 18.4 overs, they would also eliminate the UAE with Hong Kong progressing. A defeat for Canada would see the UAE and Hong Kong qualify.
But the UAE bowlers didn't allow Canada to score quickly enough. Navneet Dhaliwal scored 47, whilst an unbeaten 37 from 39 balls by Nicholas Kirton was too slow given the situation. They were kept to 140-5 from their 20 overs, losing by 14 runs and ensuring that UAE and Hong Kong would qualify for the next stage.
Tomorrow will be a rest day before the play-offs get underway on Tuesday. Netherlands will play the UAE in the afternoon match, whilst Namibia will take on Oman in the evening. The winners will qualify for the World Cup and reach Friday's semi-finals - against Ireland and Papua New Guinea respectively - whilst the losers get another chance on Wednesday against Scotland and Hong Kong respectively.