USA and Italy qualified for the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 to be held in Hong Kong next year after both registered their fourth win of the tournament.
Unbeaten hundreds from Rashard Marshall and Aditya Thyagarajan followed by a dominant bowling performance enabled USA to crush Argentina by 196 runs in Pianoro. The huge victory meant USA topped the table with four wins and a net run-rate better than Italy's.
Electing to bat first, USA lost openers Sushil Nadkarni and Orlando Baker in the first over bowled by Gary Savage. Agustin Casime got Steve Massiah and Carl Wright in the second over, and USA were reduced to 3 for 4. Steven Taylor followed in the fifth over, and half the side was back in the pavilion with 17 runs on the board.
Lennox Cush and Thyagarajan began the fightback, adding 84 runs for the sixth wicket. Cush fell after making 58 off 54 deliveries with the score on 101. This brought Marshall to the crease and his arrival totally changed the tempo of the innings. He added 205 runs off 173 deliveries with Thyagarajan, cantering to 122 off only 84 deliveries with 11 fours and six sixes. Thyagarajan remained unbeaten on 102 off 146 with 14 fours as USA closed on 306 for 6.
Argentina crumbled under the pressure of the huge chase, struggling at 30 for 6 at one stage. Only two batsmen reached double figures as they folded up for 110 in 27.2 overs. Kevin Darlington, Usman Shuja and Adrian Gordon picked up three wickets each.
In Navile, Italy, too, notched up their fourth win of the tournament, thrashing Tanzania by 167 runs and sealing a place in the final against USA.
Peter Petricola led a strong batting performance, making 89 off 100 deliveries with seven fours and a six. He shared useful stands with Nic Northcote, Damian Crowley and Hayden Patrizi. Patrizi remained unbeaten on 49 off only 33 deliveries, hitting four sixes as Italy finished on 259 for 7.
Dilan Fernando reduced Tanzania to 33 for 5, picking up 4 for 28. Petricola then followed up his batting heroics by snaring four wickets as Tanzania were bowled out for 92 in 27 overs. Kassim Nassoro was the top-scorer for Tanzania with 34 off 39 deliveries.
Nepal made short work of Cayman Islands in Medicina, bowling them out for 69 and then knocking off the runs for the loss of only three wickets. The big win was not enough for them to make the final though, as they finished third behind USA and Italy.
Amrit Bhattarai and Mahaboob Alam struck early to leave Cayman Islands struggling at 25 for 5. Bhattarai had figures of 7-2-8-3. Basanta Regmi then cleaned up the tail, finishing with 4 for 13 of 9.5 overs. Only Ryan Bovell resisted, remaining unbeaten on 31 off 86 balls.
Nepal faced no problems during the short chase, reaching the target of 70 in 17.2 overs and will take on Tanzania in the third-place playoff.
Cayman Islands and Argentina will clash in the playoff for fifth place.