The final World Cricket League tournament ever saw three nations - Namibia, Oman and USA - clinch ODI status for the first time in their respective histories, while Papua New Guinea arrested a two-year form slump to reclaim ODI status in dramatic fashion. The four of them will now join Nepal, Scotland and UAE in playing a guaranteed 36 ODIs between now and 2021.
Some familiar faces shone bright in Windhoek, while some new ones put in breakthrough performances, and broke into ESPNcricinfo's XI for the tournament. These 11 players also helped set the stage for some exciting match-ups over the next three years as part of the ICC Cricket World Cup League Two and Challenge League, the restructured qualification pathway to the 2023 World Cup.
It took him a few matches to get going, but Baard played an immense role to help Namibia, the host country, clinch ODI status. He made 90 in a match-winning effort against Canada, before scoring 122 and adding 243 runs with JP Kotze for the second wcket in Namibia's record 396 for 3 against Hong Kong.
Hong Kong's fortunes ebbed and flowed with those of Rath, the tournament's leading scorer. When he was at the crease, they had a chance. When he got out, it was lights out for the team too. His unbeaten 114 on the opening day took them past Canada. But when he fell for 85 after laying a solid platform against PNG, their tournament started to go pear-shaped.
3. Kinchit Shah (Hong Kong) - 163 runs at 27.16, 50x1; 11 wickets at 18.63
The offspinning-allrounder was a stifling presence bowling with the new ball, and played a key role in the opening-day win over Canada with 4 for 32. In a thin fragile line-up, he was the only one to offer consistent support to Rath coming in at first drop, and finished 12th in the run-scorers' list for the tournament.
4. Zeeshan Maqsood (Oman, capt) - 163 runs at 54.33, 100x1; 6 wickets at 23.00
Maqsood picked up where he left off in Division Three on home soil, leading his side to four straight wins to clinch ODI status and hitting 109 in the win over Canada. When he missed the match against Papua New Guinea, the effect was clear to see, as Oman rolled over for 76. Canada suffered too, as PNG took the fourth ODI spot.
The medium-pace allrounder played pivotal roles in two of Oman's first three wins. He made an unbeaten half-century having entered at 17 for 3 to blunt a blistering spell from Ali Khan to close out a six-wicket win over USA, and against Hong Kong, he saw them across the line again with 31 not out.
The widely travelled Jacobs ended with the highest average for the event, doing his best to prop up an underwhelming batting performance on the part of Canada. An unbeaten 52 in a tense three-wicket win over PNG kept Canada's ODI hopes alive entering the final day against USA, where he made another fifty, this time in vain.
7. JJ Smit (Namibia) - 221 runs at 55.25, 50x2; 13 wickets at 14.53
Namibia technical analyst HD Ackerman believes the Player of the Tournament is good enough to be in an IPL squad, and with good reason. Smit smashed a tournament-best 11 sixes with some vicious death-overs bashing - the 61 not out in 26 balls against Hong Kong a good example - but also kept his cool with 19 not out in a nail-biting low-scoring chase to beat PNG.
The left-arm seamer claimed two Man of the Match awards, and saved his best for the last, returning a career-best 5 for 13 to wipe out Oman in the final for Namibia's first ODI win. He took match honours on day one against PNG too, nabbing 3 for 16 and then hitting 23 not out in an unbroken 42-run eighth-wicket stand with Smit to win by three wickets.
During a relatively quiet week by the new-ball tandem of Kaleemullah and Bilal Khan, former Pakistan Under-19 quick Fayyaz kept the pace unit humming by taking the second-most wickets in the week. His consistency was invaluable in wins over USA, Canada and Namibia, as he took three-fors on each occasion.
USA might well have fallen short of ODI status in Namibia without the tournament's leading wicket-taker. After an opening day loss to Oman, USA were staring at 0-2 before Ali Khan's triple strike in the 49th over took USA to a two-run win over Namibia. A fiery new-ball spell against PNG was just as devastating as USA won by 10 wickets.
The left-armer is one of the biggest reasons PNG left Namibia with ODI status again. His 5 for 14 reduced Oman to 23 for 6 in an epic fightback on the final day to help PNG wipe out a sizeable net run-rate deficit with Canada. He also turned Hong Kong's innings upside down earlier in the competition with Rath's wicket to set up a simple chase.