Big wins for PNG, Scotland
Papua New Guinea took a commanding position atop Group B after a thumping nine-wicket win over Uganda in New Plymouth on Thursday. Uganda got off to a serene start against opening bowlers Willie Gavera and Raymond Haoda, reaching 53 for 0 after PNG captain Chris Amini won the toss and elected to field first. The match shifted dramatically in PNG's favour when Amini brought on younger brother Charles Amini. The 21-year-old legspinner proceeded to dismiss Uganda's top five and eventually finished with career best figures of 6 for 19 in 10 overs as Uganda lost 10 for 52 to be all out for 105 in 35.5 overs.
Tony Ura's dismissal for 4 in the second over was the only hiccup in PNG's chase. Lega Siaka (65*) and Assad Vala (37*) put on an unbeaten 98-run partnership for the second wicket to achieve victory with 33 overs to spare, giving their side a massive net run rate boost to +2.427 to go with an unblemished 2-0 record. At 0-2 and with a severe hit to their net run rate, which stands at -2.985, Uganda's chances of finishing in the top three of Group B to be able to advance to the Super Sixes are hanging by a thread.
"It was a very, very, very disappointing result for us today," Davis Arinaitwe, the Uganda captain, said. "We need one of our batsmen to get in and stay in, so that the rest of the team can bat around them and build a decent total."
Scotland bounced back from their opening day loss to defeat Nepal by 90 runs in Queenstown. Calum MacLeod (46), Matt Machan (37) and Preston Mommsen (35) all chipped in with handy contributions after Nepal chose to send Scotland in to bat. Freddie Coleman entered at number five in the 25th over with the score 110 for 3 and made the most of the foundation laid by the top order to finish with 64 not out and his 59-run unbeaten eighth-wicket stand with Safyaan Sharif pushed Scotland's total to 249 for 7. Sompal Kami lead the Nepal bowling attack with 3 for 35.
Nepal's chances were dealt a blow before the match began when captain Paras Khadka was ruled out due to injury and things only got worse on the first ball of the chase when opener Sagar Pun was caught behind off Rob Taylor. Gyanendra Malla, deputising for Khadka, top scored with 34 but his dismissal on the first ball of the 18th over by Sharif made it 60 for 4 and put Nepal into a hole from which they could not climb out. They were eventually bowled out for 159 in 46.1 overs. Iain Wardlaw finished with 3 for 32 while Coleman was named Man of the Match for his half-century.
"It was a pretty tough start for us (against Hong Kong) and we were obviously pretty disappointed with that result, but it was important for us today that we came out and got ourselves rolling and got a good win under our belt and we did that so now we are up and running," Coleman said. "It was nice to get some runs and we got off to a good start, but it was quite tricky during the middle overs with the spinners. The pitch has been played on a bit so it is a bit slow which made it difficult to hit the ball into the gaps, but it was nice to kind of hold my patience a little bit and score a few at the end."