Papua New Guinea secured their ODI status and a place in ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 by just four runs after a comprehensive victory against already-qualified Oman.
The Oceanian nation needed to beat Oman and prey results elsewhere went their way and they held up their end of the bargain with a 145-run victory.
Canada had the chance to leapfrog them into the top four but to do so they needed to restrict USA to under 212 in their run-chase. However, in a dramatic finale, USA managed to reach 215-9 and knock their rivals out.
Namibia also confirmed their top-four spot by beating Hong Kong by 151 runs as the group stage came to its conclusion.
Namibia and PNG join Oman, USA, Scotland, Nepal and the UAE in League 2, where they will play 36 ODIs each over a two-and-a-half year period on the road to Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. With Hong Kong and Canada confirming their spots in ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League.
Canada v USA
Batting first, Canada got off to a bad start as they fell to 4-2 with Ali Khan (3-65) removing both Rodrigo Thomas for a duck and Srimantha Wijeyeratne for two. But Monty Desai’s side responded impressively and only lost two further wickets in the rest of their innings.
Opener Navneet Dhaliwal made 121 not out from 126 balls, while he was ably supported by both Nitish Kumar (58) and captain Davy Jacobs (57) in Canada’s overall score of 255-4. USA lost key opener Xavier Marshall (7) cheaply to the excellent Romesh Eranga (4-47) but Monank Patel (25), Steven Taylor (44) and Jaskaran Malhotra (50) led their recovery.
With three wins from four heading into the match, the Americans would have been confident of successfully chasing down the target but key run-outs to Patel and Taylor cost them dearly.
Aaron Jones (33) kept their hopes alive but the tail failed to wag and they finished their 50 overs on 215-9 – however, that was enough to prevent Canada from joining them in the top four.
Canada coach, Monti Disai said: “Great all-round performance bowling, batting. We wanted to do better, we are basically better team than what we have shown performance wise, if we had played how we played today we would have won more games.”
USA captain, Saurabh Netravalkar said: “It’s a proud feeling for all of us the team, the support staff and everyone. I hope this will help us develop cricket in the USA and provide more opportunities for everyone.”
PNG v Oman
Oman won the toss and elected to field and that decision looked to be a masterstroke, with the top five Papua New Guinea batsman falling for single-figure scores.
The electric Fayyaz Butt (4/46) took four of the first five wickets, including upending the stumps of both Charles Amini (6) and Chad Soper (2).
However, Kiplin Doriga (65) and Sese Bau (80) added 129 for the sixth wicket to rescue the innings and fire Papua New Guinea to 221-8.
Like their opponents, Oman’s top order struggled – with Nosaina Pokana at the forefront of the fielding side’s charge. He took a superb 5/10 off his first six overs, including the wickets of Jatinder Singh, Aqib Ilyas and Suraj Kumar for a duck. There was some brief resistance from captain Khawar Ali (29 not out) and Sandeep Goud (13) but Soper (3/15) took three quick wickets to help finish Oman off for just 76.
Oman captain Zeeshan Maqsood said: “It’s a part of the game we played well in the last four games, but we collapsed in the batting. We are very much looking forward to playing more competitive cricket over the next two years, we have a strong batting and bowling line up, today the batting didn’t work, but that happens.”
PNG captain, Assad Vala said: “We have played very well today and gave ourselves a chance. It has been a very exciting tournament.”
Namibia vs Hong Kong
With two wins from four matches, Namibia had blown hot and cold ahead of their match with Hong Kong and it did not take long to find out which mood they were in this contest either.
Hong Kong won the toss and put the hosts into bat but they quickly regretted that call as Stephen Baard (122) and JP Kotze (148) both scored centuries and put on 243 for the second wicket.
Kotze scored his ton off just 86 balls in an innings that included 15 fours and nine sixes, while JJ Smit (61) and Zane Green (41) added further runs to take Namibia to an impressive 396-3.
Faced with a mammoth run chase, Hong Kong got off to a flying start – despite the early loss of opener JJ Atkinson (3) – as captain Anshuman Rath (76) and KD Shah (56) compiled 132 for the second wicket.
But they both fell to Craig Williams (2/41) and Hong Kong struggled to recover, losing regular wickets and eventually finishing 245 all out from 43.2 overs.
Namibia Player of the Match, JP Kotze said: “It feels good for me and the coach and me has put a lot of work in the past 16 months, he’s backed me and I am really happy. It was our goal to qualify for League 2, it will have a massive impact on the development of all country’s cricket infrastructure, fields and everything. And it’s a massive boost for Cricket Namibia and everyone involved.”
Hong Kong captain, Anshuman Rath said: “I think when Kotze on his day it is hard to stop him. 400 is a big score, I think the bowlers have to look at themselves, it was always a tough gig from there. Had it been 300 or something it might have been closer, odds of us chasing that is always low. It is what it is, we have got to pick ourselves up. Kotze and Baard batted very well, with very clean hitting.”
Scores in brief
Canada won by 40 runs at Wanderers Cricket Ground, Windhoek
Canada 255-4, 50 overs (Navneet Dhaliwal 121 not out, Nitish Kumar 58; Ali Khan 3/65)
USA 215-9, 50 overs (Jaskaran Malhotra 50, Steven Taylor 44; Romesh Eranga 4/47)
Papua New Guinea won by 155 runs at United Cricket Club Ground, Windhoek
Papua New Guinea 221-8, 50 overs (Sese Bau 80, Kiplin Doriga 65; Fayyaz Butt 4/46)
Oman 76 all out, 28.2 overs (Khawar Ali 29 not out, Nosaina Pokana 5/14, Charles Soper 3/15)
Namibia won by 151 runs at Affies Park, Windhoek
Namibia 396-3, 50 overs (JP Kotze 148, Stephen Baard 122; Ahsan Abbasi 1/27)
Hong Kong 245, 43.2 overs (Anshuman Rath 76, KD Shah 56; Bernard Scholtz 2/37)
UPCOMING TOURNAMENT MATCHES
Saturday, 27 April – Oman v Nambia, Final, Wanderers (ODI); USA v Papua New Guinea, 3rd v 4th Playoff (ODI), WAP; Canada v Hong Kong 5th v 6th Playoff, Trustco UNITED
All matches start at 09h30 local time.