Papua New Guinea registered a comfortable 42-run win over Hong Kong in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier warm-up match played at the Burwood Park in Christchurch on Saturday (January 11).
After being put in, PNG lost Lega Siaka for seven in the eighth over of the match. Tony Ura and Asad Vala then added 49 runs for the second wicket before Ura was dismissed by Irfan Ahmed in the 17th over. A sudden rush of wickets followed, leaving PNG reeling at 86 for 6. But a 63-run stand for the seventh wicket, between Mahuru Dai (39) and Vani Morea (18) and a 56-run ninth-wicket stand between Norman Vanua (37) and Pipi Raho (15*), helped it to a total of 205 before it was bowled out in 45 overs.
Irfan Ahmed was Hong Kong’s best bowler, returning figures of 6 for 27 from his seven overs. Haseeb Amjad also chipped in with 3 for 16 off seven overs.
Hong Kong made absolute mess of the chase, with the 93-run stand for the eighth wicket between Amjad (64) and Babar Hyat (30) offering the only sign of resistance. But, with none of the other batsmen making an impact, Hong Kong eventually folded for 163 in 40 overs.
At the Christ College ground in Christchurch, Scotland completed a comprehensive 63-run win over Namibia.
Calum MacLeod and Matt Machan added 79 runs for the second wicket at a healthy scoring rate, helping Scotland reach 100 in the 21st over. A mini-collapse pegged it back before Michael Leask’s 32 in the death overs and an unbeaten 21-ball 39 from Matthew Cross helped it post 275 for 8 in 50 overs. MacLeod scored a 102-ball 71, including seven fours. Bernard Scholtz returned figures of 3 for 35.
In reply, Namibia had a less-than-ideal start to its chase and was left struggling at 6 for 77 at the end of the 24th over. Rob Taylor and Gordon Goudie cleaned up the top order and, with only two significant lower-order partnership of 81 runs and 50 runs flourishing, Namibia could only manage 212 in 49.2 overs.
Gerrie Snyman, who came in to bat at No. 6, chipped in with a 93-ball 73 and was very well supported by Jaen Kotze, who scored a 44-ball 43. Taylor returned figures of 4 for 41. Goudie also grabbed three wickets, giving away 42 runs in 9.2 overs.
Opting to bat, Netherlands was shot down for 189 in 47.2 over at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. The United Arab Emirates then chased down the target in 40.2 over with six wickets to spare.
With the top five batsmen adding just 39 runs, Netherlands was left struggling at 8 for 119 by the 32nd over. Timothy Gruijters and Malik Jamil defied the UAE attack for 16 overs, adding 69 runs in the process. But Jamil was stumped off the bowling of Ahmed Raza in the 47th over with 188 runs on the board and, with Mudassar Bukhari adding just one run, Netherlands was all out for 189. Amjad Javed picked up 3 for 23.
Solid top-order partnerships laid the foundation for an easy win for UAE. Chirag Suri and Amjad Ali got off to a slow start but added 36 runs for the first wicket before Vivian Kingma bowled Suri for 11. Salman Faris then collaborated with Ali to string together a partnership of 88 runs before an unbeaten 37-run fifth-wicket partnership ensured UAE cruised home without any hiccups.
Amjad Ali before retiring out smashed an 86-ball 70, hitting 11 fours. It was UAE’s second consecutive win.
Over at the St. Andrew’s College Ground, Kenya clinched a one-wicket win against Nepal.
After winning the toss, Nepal posted 265 for 8 in 50 overs thanks mainly to Anil Mandal’s 62 off 65 balls and a 66-run seventh-wicket stand between Binod Bhandari (48) and Pradeep Airee (42).
Elijah Otiena emerged as the most successful bowler, picking up two wickets for 40 runs.Kenya kept losing wickets at regular intervals too, but Morris Ouma’s 73 before Thomas Odoyo’s 44-ball 66 saw it home in the last over of the match.
At the Bay Oval 2, Uganda defeated Canada by 71 runs after posting 245 in 50 overs. Roger Mukasa and Abram Mutyagaba (51), the openers, added 53 runs, to get Uganda off to a solid start. A 79-run stand between Lawrence Sematimba and Hamza Saleh got it back into the game after the slow scoring rate hampered their progress. Saleh carried the innings on his shoulder, scoring an 84-ball 79, and was ably supported by Mutyagaba.
Patrick Ochan jolted Canada’s chase in the sixth over, when he dismissed Zeeshan Siddiqui for three. Usman Limbada soon followed, scoring just two. Raza-ur-Rehman and Amarbir Hansra tried to consolidate with a 91-run fourth-wicket stand, but with eight batsmen failing to get into double figures, including three ducks, Canada was bowled out for 174 in the 46th over.
The battle for the two remaining spots in the ICC Cricket World Cup to be played in Australia and New Zealand will begin on Monday, when Uganda will face Netherlands in the first match of the tournament.