Papua New Guinea and Ireland have qualified for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Australia 2020 after finishing top of their respective groups in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Victory over Kenya, combined with later results, proved enough for PNG to reach the ICC T20 World Cup for the first time in their history.
Ireland, meanwhile, progressed courtesy of results elsewhere going in their favour, with Jersey defeating Oman on the final day of group-stage action.
As well as reaching next year’s showcase, both sides will also progress to the semi-finals of the Qualifier, where they play the winners of the two semi-final play-offs.
The first of those will see Netherlands, who finished second in Group A, face UAE as the third-ranked team in Group B. The winner of that match will face Ireland while they will also qualify for next year’s World Cup.
The other semi-final play-off will see Namibia face Oman, after the two finished third in Group A and second in Group B respectively. PNG await the victors, who will also reach Australia 2020.
Scotland and Hong Kong, who finished fourth in their respective groups, will now take part in the fifth-place play-off semi-finals. There they will face the defeated side in each of the semi-final play-offs, with the winner in each match also qualifying for the T20 World Cup.
PNG fight back to beat Kenya by 45 runs
PNG have reached an ICC global event for the first time but it needed a huge fightback in their 45-run victory over Kenya to seal their place.
Batting first, PNG were struggling at 19 for six with Emmanuel Bundi (four for 18) ripping through the line-up with just four overs on the board.
But the lower order fought back, Sese Bau (17) laying the platform before Norman Vanua, batting at eight, struck 54 from 48 balls to guide PNG to 118 all out.
They still needed to bowl well from the outset and they did, with Vanua (two for 19) then delivering with the ball to dismiss Dhiren Gondaria in the first over of the chase.
Kenya kept fighting with their other opener Irfan Karim (29) top scoring with the bat. But regular wickets derailed their chase, Assad Vala finishing with three for seven from his four overs while Nosaina Pokana (three for 21) cleaned up the tail to bowl Kenya out for 73.
The win on its own was not enough for PNG to clinch top spot, but their progression was secured later in the day when Netherlands fell short of overtaking the table-toppers on net run rate.
PNG captain Assad Vala said: “A couple of years ago, we would have been all out for 60 or 70. The boys learnt, showed some character, and got us up to a total that we were able to defend.
“It means a lot to the players and the fans. I don’t know how many qualifiers we’ve been to, we’ve come close on so many occasions, but this group believed they could get it done.
“T20 really suits the way we play, there’s a lot of energy involved and we don’t play a lot of 50-over cricket, so the boys are used to playing in the shorter format.”
Kenya captain Shem Ngoche said: “Our batting is an area of concern that we have to go and figure out.
“If we’d have qualified, it would have been really good for Kenyan cricket. I’m happy for the boys for the way we came and played out here.
“We played good and bad cricket but I’m proud of those boys for the effort and energy they put out there.”
Hong Kong ease past Nigeria by five wickets
Hong Kong’s bid for the T20 World Cup is firmly alive – but they faced a nervous wait after overcoming Nigeria early in the day.
Nigeria had gotten away nicely when batting first with Sulaimon Runsewe (17) and Daniel Ajekun (14) putting on 30 for the first wicket.
But from there Hong Kong’s bowlers came into their own, with Aizaz Khan (two for five), Mohammad Ghazanfar (two for 11) and Waqas Barkat (two for 13) restricting them to 81 for eight from 20 overs.
Hong Kong started the chase in quick fashion with 25 coming from the first two overs, though they also lost Nizakat Khan for a nine-ball 21.
Cameos from Kinchit Shah (25) and Haroon Arshad (17 not out) proved enough to reach 82, however, prevailing by five wickets with almost 13 overs remaining.
The large margin of victory proved invaluable, with net run-rate giving Hong Kong the last play-off spot ahead of Canada after they were defeated by UAE in the final group-stage match.
Hong Kong’s Mohammad Ghazanfar, man of the match, said: “We needed to win this game by a big margin, so we came up with a plan the night before. We wanted to chase as soon as possible after bowling first, that went well for us.
“We had a young team and seven debutants in our first games, we had an inexperienced team so there were some mistakes in those first three games.
“After that, we had a meeting and covered everything – since then we’ve played some really positive cricket and gave ourselves a great chance of qualifying for the next stage.”
Nigeria captain Ademola Onikoyi said: “We just wanted to have enough time on the wicket, seeing what it was like on tough surfaces.
“We want to believe in our ability and not let any word from the outside get to us, we want to leave here trusting ourselves and backing the team in what we can do.”
Jersey strike late to beat Oman by 14 runs
Oman knew victory in their final game would guarantee them a place at Australia 2020 but they fell narrowly short with a 14-run defeat to Jersey.
Three wickets in Dominic Blampied’s first over proved a major blow for Oman, sat at six for three in their attempted chase of 142.
Captain Zeeshan Maqsood steadied the ship with a half-century but three wickets in three overs for Elliot Miles (three for 22) turned the tide back Jersey’s way as they edged the thriller.
Their early batting effort hinged on the openers, with Nick Ferraby (41) and Nick Greenwood (22) putting on 60 for the opening wicket.
Four quick Mohammad Nadeem wickets then threatened their bid for a competitive score but their 141 for seven total proved enough to earn an impressive third win of the competition.
Jersey captain Charles Perchard said: “It’s the end of the tournament and our dreams are put on hold until the next qualifier.
“But it’s been a great run for us, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed being out here and we hope we’ve gained a few fans and done our island proud.
“We played our best cricket against Oman and the UAE, but we weren’t at the races in the other games which is disappointing – had we played our best cricket then we could have been in the play-offs.”
Oman captain Zeeshan Maqsood said: “We came here for the win, but unfortunately we couldn’t play well. There were a few good performances and we’ll take those forward with us.
“It was a chaseable target, we were happy looking at 140, but if you’re giving away three wickets in one over, the momentum of the game changes. We couldn’t use the powerplay well.
“We look forward to heading into the play-offs, we missed our chance but still we have opportunities to qualify – but we have to fight back and play our best cricket.”
Netherlands hunt down Scotland in four-wicket win
Netherlands’ bid for Group A top spot may have fallen short but they ended the group stage in impressive fashion with a four-wicket win over Scotland.
Scotland were looking in good shape after being asked to bat first with captain Kyle Coetzer (17) and top-scorer Matthew Cross (52) assured in reaching 56 for one.
Regular wickets thwarted their bid for a strong total, however, with Brandon Glover (two for 28) and Pieter Seelaar (two for 12) part of a strong Netherlands effort that saw all six bowlers used take at least one wicket.
The Dutch chase of 131 started poorly with Tobias Visee and Max O’Dowd both dismissed within four overs, keen to force the chase as they needed to reach the target within 12.3 overs to overtake PNG atop Group A.
The experience of Ben Cooper (21) and Colin Ackermann (22) stemmed the early loss of wickets before Ryan ten Doeschate’s 51 not out from just 35 balls saw Netherlands win the game with 18 balls to spare.
They’ll be joined in the play-offs by Scotland, who finished fourth in Group A and will now get themselves prepared for the fifth-place play-off semi-finals.
Netherlands captain Pieter Seelaar said: “We tried hard, but it wasn’t quite good enough.
“Playing back-to-back games was always going to be a bit tough but we’ll make sure we get that rest in ahead of the play-offs. The guys are still fresh, they’re still running hard and getting the twos.
“We’ve got to give credit to our analysts and bowling coach, they sorted us out with plans in all different conditions.
“We got it wrong a couple of months ago against Scotland where they got 250, but to now implement our plans was very satisfying for everyone around the team. Our skill has won us the game.”
Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer said: “It’s disappointing that we haven’t quite hit our straps yet but we’ve still got an opportunity to do that.
“We’ll go back and think hard, try to figure out where we’re not quite nailing things and where we are doing things well.
“We need to give ourselves some time to sit back and have some reflection, it will benefit the guys who are not very well at the moment and we, as a team, need to refresh and be ready to go.”
UAE hold off Canada by 14 runs
UAE secured their spot in the play-offs by recovering from a slow start to ease past Canada by 14 runs.
Two wickets in the first seven balls marked a tough start for the hosts with Rohan Mustafa and Chirag Suri falling to leave them at six for two.
But an emphatic 89 not out from Muhammad Usman – his best T20I score and the joint highest of this ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier – helped UAE to 154 for five, despite Saad Bin Zafar’s three wickets.
Canada’s chase started positively with Srimantha Wijeyeratne (21) and Nitish Kumar (11) helping bring up the 50 with just one wicket lost, knowing they needed to win to reach the next stage.
But when captain Navneet Dhaliwal (41) fell to Waheed Ahmed (three for 21), Canada struggled to keep up with the rate, even with a late flourish from Ravinderpal Singh (15).
UAE’s Muhammad Usman, man of the match, said: “We were thinking about taking the game as long as possible and that in the last five or six overs, we could make the most of it.
“Coming in at six for two, it can be part of the game. It’s a normal thing for us.
“I have to say a big thanks to the fans, it’s not easy for them to come but they did and we’re very grateful. This is a big achievement for us, we haven’t played in a qualifier before so it’s a dream.”
Canada captain Navneet Dhaliwal said: “We started really well, but the way we bowled at the death wasn’t acceptable for us.
Until the 14th over, we were in control but credit goes to their batsmen, they finished well but we didn’t execute the bowling plans towards the end.
“Every match counts, every win counts in this tournament, we wanted to win but at the end of the day we came here to play some quality cricket with and against some quality players and we’ve done that.”
Scores in brief:
PNG beat Kenya by 45 runs, Dubai International Cricket Stadium
PNG 118 all out, 19.3 overs (Norman Vanua 54; Emmanuel Bundi 4-18, Collins Obuya 2-17)
Kenya 73 all out, 18.4 overs (Irfan Karim 29; Assad Vala 3-7, Nosaina Pokana 3-21)
Hong Kong beat Nigeria by five wickets, Tolerance Oval, Abu Dhabi
Nigeria 81-8, 20 overs (Ademola Onikoyi 18; Aizaz Khan 2-5, Mohammad Ghazanfar 2-11)
Hong Kong 82-5, 7.1 overs (Kinchit Shah 25, Nizakat Khan 21; Daniel Ajekun 1-5)
Jersey beat Oman by 14 runs, Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Jersey 141-7, 20 overs (Nick Ferraby 41, Nick Greenwood 22; Mohammad Nadeem 4-23)
Oman 127-9, 20 overs (Zeeshan Maqsood 56; Elliot Miles 3-22, Dominic Blampied 3-27)
Netherlands beat Scotland by four wickets, Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Scotland 130-8, 20 overs (Matthew Cross 52; Pieter Seelaar 2-12, Brandon Glover 2-28)
Netherlands 131-6, 17 overs (Ryan ten Doeschate 51 not out; Mark Watt 3-18)
UAE beat Canada by 14 runs, Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
UAE 154-5, 20 overs (Muhammad Usman 89 not out, Rameez Shahzad 27; Saad Bin Zafar 3-21)
Canada 140-5, 20 overs (Navneet Dhaliwal 41, Nicholas Kirton 37 not out; Waheed Ahmed 3-21)
© ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2018