Ireland, Scotland and Kenya suffer shock defeats on opening day
ICC Media Release
Tue, Feb 9, 2010 10:44 PM
Afghanistan, USA, the Netherlands and the UAE make winning starts
Photographs from the matches available for free download from ICC FTP site
In an extraordinary opening day in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday, Scotland, Kenya and defending joint-champion Ireland suffered shock defeats which left their chances of qualifying for the main event in the West Indies on a razor-sharp edge.
At the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the United States of America, which entered the tournament as a wildcard, stunned Scotland by six wickets while in the afternoon match host the UAE, which had also been specially invited to participate in the tournament, surprised Kenya by 15 runs.
At Dubai International Stadium in Dubai Sports City, Afghanistan continued its good form beating Ireland by 13 runs in front of several hundred very vocal supporters while in the final match of an absorbing day, the Netherlands, which shared the trophy with Ireland when the qualifier was staged in Belfast in 2008, overcome anxious moments to overpower a spirited Canada by six wickets.
After Tuesday's results, all the four beaten sides find themselves in must-win situations while they are also aware of the fact that even if they win their matches on Wednesday, Thursday will be judgement day for them when Ireland goes head to head with Scotland in the late afternoon match in Dubai and Kenya takes on the Netherlands in the early afternoon match in Abu Dhabi.
Besides all the talk about Thursday, another loss on Wednesday for any of these four teams will mean the end of their hopes to earn a ticket for Caribbean where Pakistan will defend its title in the tournament to be staged from 30 April to 16 May.
The USA put up a more disciplined and purposeful performance against third-seed Scotland which earned it what was a comfortable six-wicket victory. The margin of victory could easily have been eight wickets had it not lost two wickets in three balls when just seven runs were required for victory in 15 balls.
The architects of the USA's victory with five balls to spare were opener Carl Wright and Lennox Cush who added 97 runs for the second wicket in 82 balls after Scotland had posted 120-7 after having won the toss and electing to bat first.
Wright clubbed eight fours in a 57-ball 62 while Cush struck three fours and a six in a 39-ball 41.
Earlier, Scotland's 120-7 revolved around captain Gavin Hamilton who top scored with 41 that came off 53 balls and included three fours.
Wright, who was later adjudged man of the match, said: "It was a collective effort by us today and a great achievement. The bowlers made it much easier for us to go out and get the runs.
"I'm excited about my man of the match but we have to look to tomorrow, keep up with our positive attitude and move as a group for our game against Ireland."
Hamilton admitted his side needed to win both remaining group matches to progress to the Super Four stage. "I think credit should be given where it is due. The USA bowled well with the new ball and our batting wasn't up to the standard against them.
"Every game is now a must-win. We're going to have a look at the team tonight and we may well have to do a bit of a reshuffle in the side for our game against Afghanistan."
Afghanistan made Ireland pay a heavy price for its sloppy fielding and uncharacteristic batting when it coasted to a comfortable 13-run victory.
Ireland dropped no less than half a dozen catches in the field, then slipped from 52-1 to 78-5 in its 140-run chase and finally failed to finish off the game when it required 16 runs off the last 11 balls with three wickets standing.
For Afghanistan, it was its third recent victory over Ireland after it had earlier beaten undoubtedly the best Associate side in the 50-over format ICC World Cup Qualifier 2009 in South Africa by 22 runs in Stand Friedman Oval, Krugersdorp, then it won a four-day first-class ICC Intercontinental Cup match by seven wickets in Dambulla last month before winning in the shortest version of the game on Tuesday.
Afghanistan must be thankful to Mohammad Nabi, who first struck three fours and two sixes in a rapid 25-ball 43 not out that lifted his side to 139-8, and then picked up 2-25 to help Afghanistan dismiss Ireland for 126 with four balls to spare.
However, off-spinner Karim Sadiq was the bowler who broke the back of Ireland's batting when he took two wickets in three balls to finish with figures of 3-21. It was his three-over spell that brought his side back in the game after William Porterfield had looked to be taking the game away from it. Porterfield became one of Sadiq's scalps when he bowled round his legs after scoring 35 that came off 23 balls and included three fours and two sixes.
Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan was delighted with his side's performance. "It is very heartening to beat a top side like Ireland on a consistent basis. This reflects that we are learning and learning fast.
"It is certainly a jump start for my side as Ireland is the best side in the tournament. The victory has given us a tremendous boost and confidence,"he said.
Porterfield was disappointed with the loss. He said: "It is disappointing if you can't chase seven runs an over and are bowled out in 20 overs. There is no doubt that we didn't play well but let's not forget that Afghanistan also played well.
"The equation for us is pretty simple and straight now. We need to win the remaining two matches to progress to the Super Four stage and get our ambitions back on track."
The UAE produced the third upset of the day when it defeated Kenya by 15 runs. Chasing 166 for victory, Kenya, which played the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003 in South Africa, finished at 150-5.
UAE opener Arfan Haider was the star performer when he belted five fours and two sixes in a 44-ball 59 that propelled the home side to 165-5. He received good support from Saqib Ali (31) with whom he added 61 runs for the third wicket off 45 balls.
Kenya was never in the hunt after it slumped to 49-3 in eight overs though Maurice Ouma (39) and Collins Obuya (42 not out) managed to narrow the margin of defeat.
The UAE captain Khurram Khan was elated with victory over Kenya. "Everything went right for us today. Batting first, we set ourselves a good target and then bowled and fielded well to restrict Kenya.
"We're very good at Twenty20 cricket and it's something we do well at. It's really a game where two overs can change everything, whether you're batting or bowling."
The Netherlands comfortably chased a 143-run target to beat Canada by six wickets.
Canada lost its star player John Davison in the first over of the match but recovered to reach 142-7 due to some useful contributions in the middle of the innings, especially from Geoff Barnett who hit a 20-ball 36 that included six fours.
In turn, a 56-run first wicket partnership between Alexei Kervezee (39) and Eric Szwarczynski (25) laid the platform on which the Netherlands built its victory. Bas Zuiderent finished as the top scorer with 43 not out.
Scores in brief:
USA beat Scotland by six wickets at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Scotland 120-7, 20 overs (Gavin Hamilton 41; Kevin Darlington 2-19)
USA 121-4, 19.1 overs (Carl Wright 62, Lennox Cush 41; Ryan Watson 2-10)
Afghanistan beat Ireland by 13 runs at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai Sports City
Afghanistan 139-8, 20 overs (Mohammad Nabi 43 not out, Noor Ali 42; Trent Johnston 2-18, Andre Botha 2-25)
Ireland 126 all out, 19.2 overs (William Porterfield 35, Paul Stirling 21; Karim Sadiq 3-21, Hamid Hassan 2-19, Mohammad Nabi 2-25)
UAE beat Kenya by 15 runs at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
UAE 165-5, 20 overs (Arfan Haider 59, Saqib Ali 31, Khurram Khan 28; Lameck Onyango 2-32, Nelson Odhiambo 2-33)
Kenya 150-5, 20 overs (Collins Obuya 42 not out, Maurice Ouma 39; Ahmed Raza 2-17, Shadeep Silva 2-25)
Netherlands beat Canada by six wickets at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai Sports City
Canada 142-7, 50 overs (Ian Billcliffe 37, Geoff Barnett 36; Peter Seelaar 2-18)
Netherlands 146-4, 19.1 overs (Alexei Kervezee 39, Bas Zuiderent 39 not out)
Fixtures for Wednesday
Afghanistan v Scotland (1000-1300), Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium; Canada v Kenya (1200-1500), Dubai International Cricket Stadium; USA v Ireland (1400-1700), Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium; UAE v Netherlands (1600-1900), Dubai International Cricket Stadium.