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Wisden Cricinfo staff
February 24, 2004
Australia 84 for 1 beat Papua New Guinea 83 (Mangan 4-31) by nine wickets
Australia's stroll through the Plate Championship continued as they eased to a nine-wicket win over Papua New Guinea at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium, a result which all-but-guarantees their progress into the semi-finals.
Australia won the toss and opted for a quick result rather than quick runs. PNG struggled from the off but battled for 35 overs to reach 83 all out, Vivian Kila top-scoring with a 62-ball 32. Left-armer Josh Mangan was the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 31. Set a modest target, Australia were brisk and professional and they completed the win in 18.2 overs for the loss of just one wicket.
PNG coach Paul Joseph said that his players would benefit from the experience of facing such strong opposition. "You know that you cannot win a match like this but it will help us in the future," said Joseph. "It was a good experience for the players and I have no doubt that it will help them improve."
Australia need to beat Nepal on Thursday (February 26) to guarantee their semi-final berth.
Scotland 201 for 8 (Iqbal 62) beat Nepal 200 for 9 by two wickets
Allrounder Moneeb Iqbal scored 62 and took two wickets as Scotland overcame a determined effort from Nepal to record their first victory of the tournament. But it was far closer than Scotland would have liked.
Coming into the game on the back of hammerings from India, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Australia, Scotland did not expect to be taken to the wire by Nepal, but the game ended in a tense last-over finish as Sean Weeraratna smacked 34 from 26 balls to thwart Nepal.
Scotland won the toss and did well to restrict Nepal to 200 for 9, but then themselves struggled against tight spin bowling and with 15 overs remaining the run-rate was creeping towards eight an over. It took the late onslaught from Weeraratna to get them out of jail with one ball to spare.
"It was a very tense win," said Alistair Scott, Scotland's team manager. "Our bowlers did very well to put us in a winning position but our batsmen looked nervous and I was very relieved when they made it. We are now in a good position to qualify for the semi-finals and a win against Papua New Guinea should see us through."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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