With the penultimate round of the ICC World Cricket League Championships about to get underway there are still six teams capable of booking a top four spot and securing their place in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier next year.
Netherlands currently sit at the top of the Championship with 16 points and victory in both games against fifth place Kenya (10 points) would guarantee their passage to the World Cup Qualifier. There is a compelling prospect in store when PNG (14 points) welcome Scotland for two ODIs, the teams are separated by just a point in second and third respectively.
The four-day round 6 ICC Intercontinental Cup fixture between fifth placed PNG on 40 points and seventh placed Scotland on 37 points started on 1 October as both teams look to climb the table.
PNG captain Asad Vala highlights the crucial appointment of former Australia international Jason Gillespie as PNG coach.
“Jason has brought new ideas to the team and the boys are really enjoying his company. He's got a lot of experience at all levels of cricket, we want to make use of his knowledge and learn as much as possible from him.
“The World Cricket League Championship matches are vital for us to finish in the top four and qualify for the Cricket World Cup Qualifier. We know it's going to be a great challenge against good opposition and we can't wait.”
Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer is not taking anything for granted said:
“The guys have prepped well, put the hard yards in and are raring to go. We’re expecting it to be tricky out there, we don’t know a huge amount about what conditions we will encounter in PNG. We have played against them a couple of times elsewhere in the world, and the coaching staff have been doing their research to make sure we have everything we need.
“We know it’s not going to be straight forward, PNG are a dangerous side and we must make sure we get on top early on in the tour.”
The Netherlands captain, Peter Borren is looking for maximum points in both 50-over matches said:
“These are a huge couple of games for us as we look to consolidate first place in the World Cricket League Championship. We were invited by Zimbabwe Cricket to train and play warm-up matches which has helped us in our preparation.
“Kenya are a dangerous team as we experienced to our detriment at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in 2015. They have a number of players who can take the game away from you quickly, we will have to plan well and execute effectively to nullify that danger. A lot of hard work has gone into giving us every chance of success. With our two nearest rivals in the championship (PNG and Scotland), playing each other on the same dates, we need nothing less than the maximum four points from this series with Kenya.”
Kenya captain Rakep Patel is confident there is still a lot to play for said:
“This is a crucial match for us we are striving for a top four finish to qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier. We have performed consistently throughout the competition, with two rounds of matches left for us we must increase the performance level. The Netherlands will be tough competition, they have only lost one match and we must be at our very best to get the all-important winning points.”
PNG Assad Vala (captain), Vani Vagi Morea, Tony Ura, Lega Siaka, Sese Bau, Mahuru Dai, Dogodo Bau, John Boge Reva, Damien Apa Ravu, Norman Oreta Vanua, Chad Aiwati Soper, Alei Nao, Nosaina Pokana, Jack Nomani Tiki, Vare-Kevere
Scotland Kyle Coetzer (captain), Richard Berrington, Matthew Cross, Con De Lange, Alasdair Evans, Safyaan Sharif, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Mark Watt, George Munsey, Craig Wallace, Christopher Sole, Stuart Whittingham, Joshua Davey
Kenya Rakep Patel (captain), Collins Obuya, Gurdeep Bhagat, Dhiren Gondaria, Irfan Karim, Nelson Odhiambo, Shem Ngoche Pushpak Kerai, Nehemiah Ngoche, Emmanuel Ringera, Lucas Ndandason, Rushabhvardhan Patel, Alex Auma, Peter Langat
Netherlands Peter Borren (captain), Wesley Barresi, Ben Cooper, Vivian Kingma, Frederick Klassen, Stephan Myburg, Maxwell O’Dowd, Michael Rippon, Pieter Seelaar, Timm van der Gugten, Roelef van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren, Tobias Visee, Sikander Zulfiqar
The match officials for PNG v Scotland:
Match Referee – Steve Bernard
Umpires- Alu Kapa, Samuel Nogajski and Lakani Oala
The match officials for Kenya v Netherlands:
Match Referee - Dev Govindjee
Umpires- David Odhiambo, Isaac Oyieko, Langton Rusere
ICC World Cricket League Championship round 6 fixtures and results
Papua New Guinea v Scotland, Port Moresby - 6 and 8 October – 0930 local time
Kenya v Netherlands, East London, South Africa - 6 and 8 October – 0930 local time
Hong Kong v Nepal, Mong Kok - 13 and 15 October – 0930 local time
Namibia v United Arab Emirates, Windhoek - 21 September – UAE won by 6 wickets
Namibia v United Arab Emirates, Windhoek - 23 September – Namibia won by 4 wickets
ICC Intercontinental Cup round 6 fixtures and results
Papua New Guinea v Scotland, Port Moresby – 1-4 October- 1000 local time
Hong Kong v Afghanistan, Mong Kok - 20-23 October, 2017 - 1000 local time
Ireland v Netherlands, Dublin – Match drawn - Ireland 477/6d and 240/7d; Netherlands 375 and 186/4
Namibia v United Arab Emirates, Windhoek – UAE won by 34 runs – UAE 269 and 157; Namibia 212 and 180