Canada became the fifth team to qualify for the Under-19 World Cup, beating Vanuatu by 24 runs on the back of Usman Limbada's century in a high-scoring game at the Maple Leaf North-East Ground.
With just one qualifying spot remaining, Netherlands, Uganda, Hong Kong and Vanuatu still mathematically have a chance of qualification, despite the fact that Netherlands and Uganda also lost to Afghanistan and Ireland respectively.
Vanuatu felt they were in with a good chance during the chase after captain Simpson Obed's quick 108 but the lack of support from the others meant they were bowled out in the 46th over. Choosing to bat, Canada were lifted to 303 by Limbada's breezy 126, comprising 13 fours and two sixes with Jelany Chilia (3 for 42) finishing as Vanuatu's most successful bowler. Hiren Patel accounted for three of the top five batsmen during the reply, as Hardik Kotak and Manny Aulakh finished with two wickets apiece.
"When I came into bat, I had a really good feeling and wanted to try and get a big score," Limbada said. "I always like trying to bat positively."
The 19-year-old right-hander believed Canada would impress at the main tournament in New Zealand. "For most of us it will be the first time we will be playing in a World Cup. It can really change our lives by playing high-level cricket against some good teams and I really think that we can be competitive at that event as we have a really good team."
It took two teams that have already qualified for the World Cup to produce arguably the match of the tournament as Papua New Guinea scraped home by one wicket against the United States of America at the Maple Leaf North-West Ground. An incredible bowling performance from John Reva, who collected 7 for 34, restricted the USA to 179, a total that could have been far smaller but for Regis Burton's 52 in the lower order.
In reply, PNG reached their target in a dramatic final over, getting home with one wicket in hand and two balls remaining as Charles Amini struck the winning runs. "It was very surprising to get seven wickets. I have been trying to get five wickets all tournament, but I never expected to take five wickets," Reva said.
"The last over was very nerve-wracking for us. We were nine wickets down and I was very nervous. I hoped our batsman would do well. I want the team to win this tournament. We have already qualified, but want to finish on a high note and win our last two games."
Ayoub Ahmadzai and Izatullah Dawlatzai were the chief executors of Afghanistan's demolition job against the Netherlands. While Ahmadzai put in a Man-of-the-Match performance with his classy 105, including 14 fours, right-arm fast bowler Dawlatzai picked up 6 for 30 as Afghanistan won by a huge 183 runs at the Maple Leaf South-East Ground.
Netherlands captain Tim Gruijters might have fancied his chances at the halfway mark, after picking up a five-for to keep Afghanistan to 272. However, the chase folded up in the 22nd over, as three ducks and three twos featured on the dismal Netherlands scorecard.
"It was a very good game and I am glad that we performed very well," Dawlatzai said. "It was good to do well against a team like Netherlands. I hope we will be able to win the remaining matches in this tournament as the players have been working hard and now we have qualified we all want to win this event."
Ireland retained their position at the top of the table with an 67-run win over Uganda at the Maple Leaf South-West Ground. Half-centuries to Stuart Thompson (67) and Ben Ackland (50) helped Ireland set up a total of 252 for 8, despite a strong bowling effort from Ahmad Sangau, who grabbed 5 for 44.
Uganda struggled to build partnerships in reply, although Hamu Bagenda (36) and Daniel Batuwa (37) did their best to get the chase on track. But Craig Young's 3 for 26 was key in restricting Uganda, who were dismissed for 185 in the 48th over.
Hong Kong raised their hopes of sealing the final spot with the two points from the walkover against Sierra Leone.
|Papua New Guinea Under-19s||7||6||1||0||0||12||+0.521||1215/281.1||1140/300.0|
|United States of America Under-19s||7||5||2||0||0||10||+0.470||1165/300.0||1023/299.4|
|Hong Kong Under-19s||7||2||5||0||0||4||-0.843||1003/300.0||1184/282.5|
|Sierra Leone Under-19s||9||0||9||0||0||0||0/0.0||0/0.0|