Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea got off to winning starts on the opening day of the 2015 ICC World Cup Qualifier held across four venues in New Zealand on Monday (January 14).
PNG produced the biggest upset of the day as they beat Kenya, the surprise semifinalists in the 2003 World Cup, by eight wickets in a Group B fixture in New Plymouth. Collins Obuya, who played a key role in Kenya’s march in that edition, led the charge with a 120-ball 106 in a total of 249 for 9, but on the day he came off second best as Lega Siaka and Assad Vala put together a 154-run opening stand to put PNG on course.
Siaka smashed 103 off 83 balls, hitting 11 fours and four sixes, while Vala’s unbeaten 105 came off 109 balls, studded with eight fours and six sixes. PNG crossed the line with 43 balls to spare.
In another Group B clash in Mount Maunganui, Netherlands beat Uganda by seven wickets courtesy fine efforts by the experienced pair of Wesley Baressi and Peter Borren. The duo put together 85 runs for the third wicket as Netherlands chased down Uganda’s 152 all out in just 30.1 overs. Baressi remained unbeaten on 61 while Borren, the Netherlands captain, made 50.
Uganda got off to a good start, with the openers putting together 76, but couldn’t sustain the momentum though the innings. Michael Rippon, the left-arm spinner, was the pick of the Netherlands bowlers with 4 for 15 in ten overs.
Across in Queenstown, Scotland ran Hong Kong close but eventually fell short by 17 runs in a Group A clash. The platform for the win was set by Irfan Ahmed, the opener, who top-scored with 75 in Hong Kong’s total of 263 for 7 in 50 overs. Scotland’s charge was led by Preston Mommsen, who made a 109-ball 118, but Nadeem Ahmed, the left-arm spinner, dealt vital blows to return figures of 4 for 37 to derail the chase. With only one other batsman crossing 30, Scotland lost steam to be bowled out for 246 in 48.4 overs.
At Rangiora, Shaiman Anwar scored a 96-ball 109, as United Arab Emirates beat Nepal by 102 runs in a Group A clash. Anwar was part of a 145-run fourth-wicket stand with Swapnil Patil which helped UAE post 297 for 8 in 50 overs. Nepal were bowled out for 195 in 48.1 overs.
Anwar and Patil’s stand helped UAE take control of the match after they were 81 for 3 in 17 overs. Nepal’s chase never took off, with the UAE bowlers striking regularly. Kamran Shazad took 3 for 46, while Manjula Guruge, Amjad Javed and Khurram Khan took two wickets each.