ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier, Group A November 24, 2013

Ireland through, Italy still in hunt despite loss

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ireland 207 for 4 (Stirling 77, O'Brien 62*) beat Hong Kong 122 (Atkinson 48, Stirling 4-10) by 85 runs

In what was a two-horse race to the World Twenty20 2014, Ireland thumped Hong Kong by 85 runs. Now, Ireland, as group-toppers, will play in the showpiece event regardless of what happens in the playoffs that follow this round of matches. Hong Kong, the No. 2 team in the group, will have to bring their A-game to those playoffs in order to edge closer to Bangladesh 2014.

Ireland elected to bat, and were solid all through their innings. Openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling laid the platform with 91 in 10 overs, and Kevin O'Brien launched from that platform. He slammed an unbeaten 62 from 27 balls, with three fours and five sixes to power Ireland past the 200-run mark.

Faced with a target of 208, Hong Kong were hardly ever in the game. Stirling continued to be a thorn in their side, as he picked up four wickets - of which three were of top-order batsmen - with his offspin in a miserly spell. If Hong Kong haboured any hopes of chasing down the stiff target, Stirling's figures of 4-0-10-4 crushed them. They were eventually bowled out in the 18th over, 85 runs shy of Ireland's total.

Alongside Hong Kong, the teams from Group A that will be dependent on the results of the playoffs to progress further are UAE, Namibia and Italy.

Canada 105 for 5 (Cheema 34, Munasinghe 3-18) beat Italy 104 for 6 (Crowley 61*, Gordon 3-15) by five wickets

The contest for the fifth spot in Group A between Canada and Italy ended in favour of the latter, in spite of Canada's five-wicket win. An earlier abandoned game gave Italy a one-point advantage over Canada, who lifted themselves from the last place on Group A to finish sixth with the win.

Italy chose to bat in a match delayed by rain and lost three wickets in the first five overs to stumble to 15 for 3. Their bid for a competitive total was given a boost by a 39-run sixth-wicket stand - the only substantial partnership of the innings - between captain Damian Crowley and Alessandro Bonora. Crowley made an unbeaten half-century, and also provided a late thrust - 20 came in less than two overs at the end to help the team past 100. They finished at 104 for 6.

Canada's reply was equally shaky at the start - they were 14 for 3 in the fifth over - but a 73-run stand between Rizwan Cheema and Jimmy Hansra set the platform for the win. The stand lasted nearly 12 overs before Hansra was dismissed for 32. Cheema fell off the very next ball but, by then, Canada had drawn close and they achieved the target with four balls to spare

Namibia 125 for 7 (N Scholtz 38, Waiswa 2-26) beat Uganda 87 for 9 (Selowa 35, van der Westhuizen 3-12, B Scholtz 3-18) by 38 runs

Uganda's hopes of a fifth-place spot were undone by their 38-run loss to Namibia. A victory would have brought them level with Italy, taking the equation between the two sides into net run rate, but Uganda failed to overhaul the 126-run target set by Namibia.

Quick wickets pegged Namibia back at the start of their innings, after they won the toss and chose to bat. A 62-run fourth-wicket stand between Nicolaas Scholtz and Namibia captain Sarel Burger rescued the innings and the side eventually finished at a competitive 125 for 7.

Two wickets in the third over of the chase and another one in the fourth meant that Uganda were reeling at 13 for 3 early on. A 22-run stand between wicketkeeper Phillimon Selowa and Davis Arinaitwe temporarily stemmed the flow of wickets, but the pair of Bernard Scholtz and Louis van der Westhuizen chipped away at the Uganda batting line-up as they finished at 87 for 9. Bernard Scholtz finished with figures of 3 for 18 in four overs, while van der Westhuizen took 3 for 12 in his quota.

UAE 151 for 5 (Khurram 61*) beat USA 137 for 7 (Taylor 42, Khurram 3-30) by 14 runs

In a match that had little riding on its result, UAE handed USA their fifth loss of the tournament. That meant USA finished at the bottom of Group A. UAE put up a total of 151 for 5, built around an unbeaten knock of 61 by captain Khurram Khan. USA were off to a decent start in the chase, with openers Steven Taylor and Fahad Babar adding 41, but UAE picked up regular wickets once their partnership was broken. In what was a very effective all-round showing, Khurram picked up three wickets with his left-arm spin to finish with the best figures for UAE. With wickets falling every time it looked like a partnership was developing, USA could not keep up with the required rate and fell 14 runs short.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    Cricket Ireland deserve test status

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    @Edd Oliver (and anyone who say that Group A was weaker than Group B. Lets see what the playoffs show. So far, Group A leads Group by 2-0. It is upto Kenya to restore Gp B's pride today. Another indicator will be which group captures the remaining 4 qualifying slots.

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    jay nepal nepal will surely gooooo bangaladesh

  • Azooz on November 26, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    Now Afghanistan made a habit of qualifying and winning every single game. watch out for them in wt20, you won't regret watching them.

  • Dummy4 on November 25, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    Now ICC must start Intro version of cricket in all countries of the world and award the winning team 25000, that should include televised cricket based upon 15 over and 10 over and 6 over it would become popular in all st 220 countries.

    The shortest version 3 over match must be played during half time break of any other major ball game like Rugby, Baseball. Soccer, etc . After all everyone is interested in balls and goofy players and spectators who think these are aggressive war games.

  • Dummy4 on November 25, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    What more does Ireland need to do gain more recognition and join the big boys club? They seem certainly better than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Tribute must go to ICC for completely destroying previously upcoming teams like Scotland and Kenya due to their focus on only financially viable cricket! Please don't repeat the same mistake. Teams like Ireland, Afghanistan, Nepal, and even Netherlands have the potential to do a Sri Lanka!

  • Dummy4 on November 25, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    I knew that Afghanistan will qualify for the world cup.you will see it soon Afghanistan Will beat the top teams.The way they bat and bowel its absolutely perfect and you will think that they are one of the top in the world.Long live Afghanistan

  • balu on November 25, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    I guess IRE, AFG and NED will give shock to anyTEST playing nation this time. well done NEPAL and NAMIBIA but UGANDA and ITALY progressing very fastly

  • Dummy4 on November 25, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    Absolutely ANTHONY CONE, I have been saying the same thing. teams like kenya, and Nepal are not getting enough support from ICC itself.Rather ICC is more focused on richer nations. It's a real pity. Among the non-test playing nations, Nepal is the most cricket crazy nation, with real possibility of it to rise to the level of test playing nations. All they lack is support and proper exposure. Five opportunities to the teams like Nepal and you could learn their passion for cricket.

  • Dummy4 on November 25, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    Hope to see Nepal, Netherlands, PNG and Scotland join Ireland and Afghanistan in Bangladesh. Shame that group A was much weaker than Group B, I'd back Kenya to beat UAE, Hong Kong, Namibia or Italy, who have all gone through to the next stage.

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