Usman Qadir sets up Pakistan victory
Pakistan stayed top of Group D with their second win, a comfortable six-wicket success over Papua New Guinea in Palmerston North. A very dominant bowling performance had PNG wrapped up for 99 in 37.3 overs and in reply Pakistan overcame a terrible start to win with 191 balls remaining.
PNG, after opting to bat, got off to a bad start. Fayyaz Butt's two wickets in the sixth over left them hurting at 17 for 2, and it only got worse as Usman Qadir spun a web with his variety of legspin. He immediately made inroads, having the opener Heni Siaka stumped for 17, and then picked off three more wickets in a teasing spell. Shahzaib Ahmed turned his arm over and netted great figures of 2 for 8 from 6.3 overs.
PNG put up a great start with the ball to give themselves some lift, but their total was never going to challenge a strong batting line-up. Raymond Haoda and Timothy Mou took out Pakistan's openers without a run on the board but couldn't strike early to dislodge the next pair. Babar Azam and the captain Azeem Ghumman rattled away a stand of 65 in quick time and when Ghumman departed for a 43-ball 40 there were only 33 needed to win. Azam finished the job with an unbeaten 40.
England also topped their group with a facile win over Afghanistan in Christchurch, their second in a row. It was another poor batting display from Afghanistan, bowled out for 126 in 47.2 overs. Nathan Buck struck thrice with the new ball to leave Afghanistan hemorrhaging at 10 for 3, after which the middle-order pair of Hashmatullah Shaidi (41 from 58 balls) and Khushal Rasooli (29 from 83) held up England for a while. But even their stand was not too last too threatening, as Azeem Rafiq and Danny Briggs, bowling a tidy right-and-left-arm spin combo, shared five wickets to check the lower middle order and the tail. Briggs was especially successful with 3 for 15 from his quota.
England's top order then went about their minimal target with confidence. Joe Root made 25 in an opening stand of 52 with Chris Dent, who stayed on to finish the game with an unbeaten 52. James Vince continued his form with 47 from 48 balls.
The day's theme of stronger sides usurping minnows continued in Queenstown, where South Africa beat USA by eight wickets. Josh Richards' decision to field proved the right one, as South Africa's bowlers dismissed USA for 163 in 49.5 overs and the chase was an easy one. Graham Hume and Dale Deeb were the main wreckers with three wickets each and the best personal score of the innings was 41 from the No. 3, Greg Sewdial. The middle order put up no fight and it needed the lower order to lift USA from 111 for 7.
The loss of two early wickets, including Richards for 8, was no hindrance for South Africa. Carried by the opener Dominic Hendricks, who made an unbeaten 75, they romped home with eight wickets in hand. The highly-rated Colin Ackermann made a cool unbeaten 64 from 71 balls, with eights four and a six.
Canada proved no match for Sri Lanka in Lincoln, where they were all out for 142 chasing a target of 277. Sri Lanka put up a strong total thanks to a steady stream of performances across the order and then their bowlers knocked over Canada cheaply, with Chathura Peiris taking five wickets.
Canada's decision to field meant they needed to strike early but instead they allowed partnerships to grow and pick Sri Lanka up after a wicket went down. A 52-run start was followed by the opener Udara Jayasundera (48) adding 38 with Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who top scored with 68. The middle order chipped in with small but substantial contributions and Sri Lanka's innings ended with Akshu Fernando biffing 43 from 25 balls.
Then Peiris took over. In a bowling display that bettered his efforts from Sunday, he snared three wickets inside 11 overs and then returned to send back Hiral Patel, whose 69 was the best score by some distance. No other batsman crossed 17 and only three made it to double digits. Peiris picked up his fifth by dismissing the last man for 0, bringing to close Canada's innings in the 40th over.