Afghanistan hand first defeat to Windies; Nepal gain ODI status

Afghanistan beat West Indies to keep their hopes alive of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup © ICC

Windies vs Afghanistan, Super Sixes

Windies suffered their first loss in the World Cup Qualifiers as Afghanistan prevailed in a nervy finish at the Harare Sports Club on Thursday (March 15) to keep their hopes of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup afloat. Opting to bat, Windies struggled against the Afghanistan spinners, with regular wickets denying them a settled pair out in the middle. Shai Hope and Marlon Samuels were involved in a half-century stand but there was no other partnership of value as the spinners shared seven of the eight wickets to fall, restricting Windies to 197 for 8 in 50 overs. Afghanistan lost their openers early in the chase but Rahmat Shah’s half-century, along with useful contributions from Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammad Nabi, kept Afghanistan in the hunt. However, Windies attempted a fightback with quick wickets, leaving Afghanistan at 168 for 6 at one stage. But the lower-order batsmen held their nerve, with skipper Rashid Khan scoring an unbeaten 13 to help Afghanistan to the target in the 48th over.

Brief scores:

Windies 197/8 in 50 overs (Shai Hope 43, Marlon Samuels 36; Mujeeb Zadran 3-33) lost to 

Afghanistan 198/7 in 47.4 overs (Rahmat Shah 68, Mohammad Nabi 31; Jason Holder 3-39) by 3 wickets.

United Arab Emirates vs Scotland, Super Sixes

Matthew Cross’s century and Chris Sole’s four-wicket haul helped Scotland begin the Super six stage with a 73-run win over UAE at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. The win boosted Scotland’s World Cup qualification hopes as they moved to the top of the table with five points, including the three carried over from the group stage. Opting to bat, Scotland’s top-order batsmen all came up with good contributions, with Cross playing the anchor’s role with his 135-ball 114. Kyle Coetzer, Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington and George Munsey, all came up with brisk knocks as Scotland finished with 322 for 6 in 50 overs. UAE lost their way early in the chase, losing wickets in a heap to be reduced to 117 for 6 in the 20th over. Fifties from Muhammad Usman and Ahmed Raza only reduced the the margin of defeat as UAE were bowled out for 249 in the 48th over.

Brief scores:

Scotland 322/6 in 50 overs (Matthew Cross 114, Calum MacLeod 78; Rohan Mustafa 4-56) beat 

UAE 249 in 47.4 overs (Muhammad Usman 80, Ahmed Raza 50; Chris Sole 4-68) by 73 runs.

Papua New Guinea vs Nepal, Play-Off

Sandeep Lamichhane’s fine bowling performance and Dipendra Singh Airee’s all-round show helped Nepal secure a six-wicket win against Papua New Guinea in the play-off game at the Old Hararians Sports Club. Their victory in this game, coupled with Hong Kong’s loss to Netherlands in the other play-off match, ensured ODI status for Nepal for the first time in their cricketing history. Opting to bowl, Nepal ran through PNG’s batting order, picking up wickets at regular intervals to bowl the opposition out for 114. Lamichhane and Airee bagged four wickets apiece. Despite losing a few early wickets, Nepal remained on course in the chase thanks to a fine knock from Airee, who was involved in a 67-run association for the fourth wicket with Aarif Sheikh. Airee finished things off in style, scoring a six to reach his fifty and help his team over the line in the 23rd over.

Brief scores:

Papua New Guinea 114 in 27.2 overs (Charles Amini 19; Dipendra Singh Airee 4-14, Sandeep Lamichhane 4-29) lost to 

Nepal 115/4 in 23 overs (Dipendra Singh Airee 50*, Aarif Sheikh 26; Norman Vanua 2-25) by 6 wickets.

Netherlands vs Hong Kong, Play-Off

Roelof van der Merwe’s four-wicket haul helped Netherlands win the low-scoring game against Hong Kong at the Kwekwe Sports Club. The defeat for Hong Kong meant that they would lose their ODI status as Nepal clinched the last ODI status spot with their win over Nepal. Opting to bat, Netherlands had a few promising starts from the top order but only Max O’Dowd managed to convert it into a half-century while skipper Peter Borren’s 31 was the next best score. At 110 for 2 in the 23rd over, Netherlands would have hoped to post a sizeable total. However, those hopes were dashed as they lost their last eight wickets for 64 runs to be bowled out for 174. The low target was ideal for Hong Kong, who were locked in a battle with Nepal and PNG for the ODI status. However, they kept losing wickets regularly and despite skipper Babar Hayat’s fighting 52, they ended up well short of the target as they were bowled out for 130.

Brief scores:

Netherlands 174 in 48.2 overs (Max O’Dowd 62, Peter Borren 31; Nadeem Ahmed 3-20) beat 

Hong Kong 130 in 43 overs (Babar Hayat 52, Kinchit Shah 22; Roelof van der Merwe 4-18) by 44 runs.