Hong Kong survived an early scare to beat Papua New Guinea by a comfortable 29-run margin to take the fifth spot available for Associates in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20.
Hong Kong looked to have made a mistake by deciding to bat first. They fell to 19 for 4 in the fourth over, but a late surge by Babar Hayat, whose 48 was comfortably the high score in a game dominated by bowlers.
The PNG opening bowlers Pipi Raho and Willie Gavera achieved good swing in the early overs, but Hong Kong was equally culpable in the initial struggle with Irfan Ahmed and Tanwir Afzal both caught slogging at deep midwicket off Gavera. Waqas Barkat, deputising for Jamie Atkinson who suffered a broken right thumb a day earlier against Nepal, was also caught after miscuing a slog off Gavera while Nizakat Khan chased a wide delivery from Raho and edged to Mahuru Dai at first slip as Hong Kong's top four all left without reaching double figures.
Hong Kong, though, did not deter from their aggressive intent and Munir Dar struck four boundaries in his 22 off 15 balls before slicing an attempted cut to short third man. From then on, Hayat and Mark Chapman patiently added 62 for the sixth wicket in a match defining stand.
A pivotal moment took place in the 16th with the score on 91 for 5 when Geraint Jones dropped a Hayat at extra cover for 31. Hayat then plundered a four and a six off the next over by Chris Amini to take the score to 116.
Hong Kong suffered a second collapse as they lost four wickets in the space of nine balls towards the end of their innings. However, the last-wicket pair of Nadeem Ahmed and Haseeb Amjad took 17 runs off the final nine deliveries to take Hong Kong to 137 for 9.
Like the Netherlands a day before against the UAE, PNG seemed unsure how to approach a small target and the conservative approach at the start of their chase was something they could not overturn later on.
Asad Vala was run out without scoring and Chris Kent struggled against Tanwir Afzal before falling lbw. PNG's leading scorer Tony Ura was joined by Jones but neither one was able to generate enough momentum for PNG to put Hong Kong under pressure in the field.
After PNG slipped to 59 for 5, the hopes for a comeback rested with Geraint Jones, but he was dismissed by Amjad for 20 in the 15th. They were eventually bowled out for 108 one ball into the 20th.
"I have no words. It will be the first time Hong Kong will play in the ICC World Twenty20 tournament," Barkat said. "I think the whole team was really keen to qualify and go to Bangladesh. Though all of us were tired and disappointed after losing yesterday's match, we did not let our heads down. It is really good that we came back hard today. Even after losing four wickets early on, the guys had self-belief and we did it."
The Netherlands successfully chased down a steep target against Scotland to secure a return to the ICC World Twenty20 for the first time since they upset England at the tournament opener in 2009.
Ben Cooper, who had batted at seven in Wednesday's loss to the UAE, was promoted to open and his positive approach was the catalyst in the chase. Cooper's presence encouraged Wesley Barresi to come out of the shell he was in on Wednesday and the pair put on 67 for the second wicket. Cooper was eventually stumped for 40 off Majid Haq, but the Netherlands refused to retreat.
Michael Swart picked up where Cooper left off and along with Barresi knocked off the rest of the runs needed as the Netherlands crossed the target with 13 balls to spare. Barresi finished 75 not out and scored a chunk of his eight fours using the sweep against the spinners, with Haq taking the most punishment going for 46 runs in his four overs.
This was the last of four games played on the same pitch and the previous two demonstrated wear which caused problems for the team chasing. With that in mind, Scotland chose to bat. Despite a horror start with openers Richie Berrington and Calum MacLeod bagging ducks, Scotland cruised through most of the innings, with Matt Machan and Michael Leask each posting half-centuries. Machan's 61 was his fourth half-century of the event, keeping him on top of the batting charts with 363 runs.
Machan and Leask added 111 for the third wicket to take the score to 112 for 2 after 15 overs. With wickets in hand they threatened to post a score in excess of 160, but the Netherlands bowling unit reined Scotland in with late strikes aided by some stellar catching on the boundary by Cooper and Tim Gruijters.
Ahsan Malik accounted for Machan and Matthew Cross to finish with 2 for 24 in his four overs. At 142 for 4 with seven balls to go in the innings, captain Kyle Coetzer was caught on the boundary by Gruijters off the bowling of Mudassar Bukhari. Malik conceded just four runs in the last over including the wicket of Cross to give the Netherlands added momentum heading into the second innings. Even though the target was 30 runs more than they faced against the UAE, the team made it look relatively simple in the end.
Italy claimed ninth place, beating Namibia by 25 runs in the play-off in Abu Dhabi. Italy posted 130 for 9 after choosing to bat. Namibia were never able to get going in the chase, and lost too many wickets upfront to be dismissed for 105 in the last over.
Damian Crowley and Carl Sandri made thirties to lead Italy to a strong position at 91 for 3 after 13 overs but the former's dismissal by Bernard Scholtz sparked a collapse. None of the following batsmen were able to get into double figures as Italy stuttered to 130 for 9.
Sandri thrived with the ball as well, taking 2 for 12 from his four overs after Gayashan Munasinghe delivered the initial breakthrough, bowling Louis van der Westhuizen in the third over. The other opener Pikky Ya France was run out and soon Namibia were in free fall at 39 for 4. Nicolaas Scholtz and Gerhard Erasmus added 40 runs for the fifth wicket but the asking-rate kept increasing. Gareth Berg claimed a hat-trick in the last over, bowling the last three batsmen to seal the win.