|Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier, UAE 2012|
Afghanistan and Namibia win again; Canada get one foot in the play-offs
The penultimate round of group matches in the World Twenty20 Qualifier saw Afghanstan and Namibia remain unbeaten and put themselves in the almost certain position of playing off for a place in the World Twenty20 proper on Thursday.
It was Namibia who were surprisingly given the toughest test of the two today, coming up against the winless Oman. Batting first after winning the toss, Namibia were surprisingly struggling at the halfway stage when they were on 47-3. And when they lost two more wickets for just one run in the eleventh over, they were seriously on the back foot.
But Sarel Burger played a captains innings, scoring 53 from 44 balls to help take his team to a total of 120-7 from their 20 overs. Not a substantial total,but one that could well test the struggling Oman line up.
And struggle they did, being bowled out for just 80, losing by 40 runs. They had no answer to the bowling of Christi Viljoen, who took 4-8, whilst Sarel Burger completed a fine all-round performance by taking 3-14. Namibia now just need to avoid defeat to Italy tomorrow to secure their place in Thursday's qualifying final.
Afghanistan had a much easier time of it in their match against Hong Kong at Sharjah. Whilst Irfan Ahmed again batted well for Hong Kong, scoring 54 from 52 balls, the rest of the batting order could only contribute 49 between them as Dawlat Zadran took 5-14 to give himself the tournament's first five wicket haul.
The Afghans had little trouble knocking off the required runs, and did so in 11.1 overs for the loss of just one wicket, Mohammad Shahzad top scoring with an unbeaten 43. Afghanistan now just need to avoid an unlikely defeat against Bermuda to miss out on Thursday's qualifying final. Even if they do lose, it will take a huge win by the Netherlands over Hong Kong to knock them off the top of the group.
Canada managed to almost secure their play-off spot with a big win over Denmark at Abu Dhabi. Some poor Danish fielding enabled the North Americans to rack up 178-3 from their 20 overs, Ruvindu Gunasekera top scoring with 95 before he was needlessly bowled by Sair Anjum with three overs still to get his century.
In reply, Rizwan Mahmood batted well to score 65, whilst Freddie Klokker also contributed with 40, but Denmark struggled and were restricted to 123-4 from their 20 overs, losing by 55 runs. Canada now just need to avoid a big defeat against Nepal tomorrow to reach the play-offs and give themselves a chance at reaching their first World Twenty20.
Canada's old rivals the USA on the other hand put in a simply awful performance against Kenya. Sushil Nadkarni scored 41 for them, but no other batsman reached double figures as they were bundled out for just 90, Ragheb Aga and Nelson Odhiambo both taking three wickets. Kenya knocked off the required runs in just ten overs to win by nine wickets.
At the global cricket academy in Dubai, Bermuda picked up their first win of the tournament after an amazing finish to their game against Papua New Guinea. PNG started their innings slowly, and it took some aggressive late innings batting to lift them to 155-6, Vani Morea top scoring with an unbeaten 49.
In reply, Bermuda were staying just behind the rate until a remarkable final over. With 16 needed to win, Janeiro Tucker casually smashed three huge sixes from the first three balls of the over to give him his half century and his team a five wicket win.