Scotland pulled off a remarkable last-ball win over Ireland at Nairobi Gymkhana after seeming to be down and out when they slid to 144 for 6 chasing a target of 281. A brutal 102 from Neil McCallum took them within sight of victory and a half-century from a limping Colin Smith saw them over the line.
For Scotland, who had come into the tournament on the back of some mediocre results, the manner of the victory may well serve to really give them a kick-start to their World Cup preparations. And yet for much of this match they looked second best.
Although they faced a good score, the pitch remained true, but their innings spluttered along, wickets fell, and as the asking rate crept up, so they had to chance their arms. They suffered a seemingly terminal clatter as they slid from 137 for 3 to 144 for 6.
But the corpse twitched and sprang back to life as McCallum opened his shoulders with the tumble of wickets. Whereas Trent Johnston bowled tidily at the start of the innings, Ireland's support bowlers lost their length and McCallum took advantage, smashing John Mooney over square leg for six and Kevin O'Brien for over long-off for another.
It was the reintroduction of Dave Langford-Smith which really hurt Ireland though, McCallum crashing him down the ground twice in an over and thereafter milking him with ease. Scotland needed 44 from five overs. But McCallum fell, attempting to hit Andre Botha out of the ground - brilliantly caught by Andrew White at long-off - to leave Ireland favourites. But at the other end, Smith was playing a slick cameo. Rarely moving his feet, and batting with a runner, he clobbered runs down the ground and, together with Craig Wright, edged Scotland closer and closer.
With two overs left, Wright smashed Johnston over his head for four reducing Scotland's target to 20 from 11 balls. But Johnston bowled full and straight for the remainder of the over, leaving Scotland to chase 14 from the final over from Kevin O'Brien. A heavy straight hit brought them a single from the first ball, bringing Smith back on strike - he immediately lofted the day's biggest six over the bowler's head.
Eight needed from four, then seven from three. Swinging into his pads, Wright freed his arms and launched another monstrous hit over long-on to level the scores with two balls to go. But Wright could only find mid-on who sprawled desperately to his left to save the single. One run needed, one ball remaining - and O'Brien delivered a leg-stump full toss which was clattered through mid-on amid scenes of wild celebration.
It had all gone so well for Ireland until the late, late show. On a straw-coloured pitch, they won the toss and after an early wicket were soon into their stride. While Jeremy Bray, whose 116 laid the foundation for the innings, was circumspect and cautious, Eoin Morgan, the highly regarded batsman contracted to Middlesex, forced the pace with a delightful, classy 41. Solid in defence, but always aware of a quick single, Morgan was in total command, easing a lofted six into the acacia trees at midwicket off Dougie Brown. Morgan's only mistake of his innings cost him his wicket when he nudged Wright to the wicketkeeper who, standing up, took a sharp chance.
The onus fell on Bray to take charge and, though his team-mates fell like dominoes at the other end, he motored past his fifty with a range of powerful drives and cuts off the spinners. In the dying overs, he and Johnston really opened up, creaming sixes over long on and battering the black sightscreen. Ross Lyons was the unfortunate victim. Scotland's shoulders dropped alarmingly. While Johnston and Bray were pummelling the spinners, those grazing the outfield in the deep shook their heads and muttered indignation. They had little idea of the drama that was still in store.
Canada disappointed with both bat and ball as they went down an eight-wicket defeat to Netherlands at Ruaraka.
Canada won the toss and batted, but thereafter little went right for them as they lost too many early wickets, including the crucial one of John Davison for 16, as they slid to 71 for 4. Ashish Bagai (74) and Ashif Mulla (37) added 74 for the fifth wicket, and then Bagai and Sunil Dhaniram (29) 55 for the sixth. But from 197 for 5, the Canadians lost their last five wickets for three runs to end with six overs of their innings unused.
They needed early wickets to have any chance to defend a below-par total, but Bas Zuiderent (77*) and Darron Reekers (39) got Netherlands off to a good start with a stand of 59, and when Reekers fell, Luuk van Troost (38) upped the tempo. Zuiderent, playing the sheet anchor role, and Ryan ten Doeschate (37*) guided the Dutch home with more than 15 overs to spare.
"The players embarrassed themselves," admitted Andy Pick, Canada's coach. "We weren't good enough in any way. The captain set the tone for an indisciplined performance."