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July 7, 2005
Scotland and Canada qualified for the semi-finals from Group B, leaving Netherlands and Naimbia to join the scramble for the final World Cup place.
Scotland went into their final group match against Holland as the only unbeaten side in Group B. Holland had to win the match to stand a chance of qualifying while Scotland would be through if they could come close to matching Holland's run-rate.
These circumstances made for a tense opening spell after Scotland were put into bat by Holland and when light rain disrupted play they were struggling at 138 for 5. When the game resumed, Scotland's middle order all chipped in with valuable runs to lift the total to 221 all out. Scotland's seam attack found the damp conditions to their liking and made early inroads into the Dutch batting line-up. A series of batsmen made steady starts but only Ryan ten Doeschate was able to pass 20 as the wickets continued to fall. Holland crumbled to 123 all out with Ryan Watson the chief destroyer with four wickets.
Canada knew that net-run-rate could be a determining factor in Group B ahead of their match against Papua New Guinea. So after losing the toss and being put in to bat, openers John Davison and Desmond Chumney wasted no time in hitting out. They raced to a century partnership before Davison was out for 62. Though Romero soon followed for 50 the momentum was maintained by Zubin Surkari (45) and Ian Billcliff, who hit an unbeaten 102, to lift Canada to 319 for 3 in 50 overs.
With the Scotland against Holland match at that stage still in the balance, Canada knew it could be crucial to their chances of a top two finish for them to bowl out Papua New Guinea cheaply and Umar Bhatti and Don Maxwell made important early breakthroughs. Mahuru Dai held out for 52 runs as Papua New Guinea edged past the 100 mark. They were all out for 159 but, with Holland losing to Scotland, net run-rate was no longer an issue and Canada had sealed a place at a second consecutive ICC Cricket World Cup.
In the other Group B game, Oman recovered from 12 for 3 to post 170 for 9 in 50 overs. Captain Azhar Ali led the fightback, top scoring with 60 runs. It was not enough to trouble Namibia's batsmen who reached the target in 41.2 overs for the loss of four wickets.
Naimbia will now play UAE on Saturday, with the winners of that tie meeting the winners of the game between Denmark and Holland. That final tie will decide which country earns the right to play in the 2007 World Cup.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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