ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier
An electrifying century from Kenya opener Irfan Karim saw Kenya shock Netherlands by four wickets in a dramatic final day of the group stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014 (CWCQ) on Thursday.

Calum Macleod of Scotland celebrates as he reaches his century during the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier match between Scotland and Canada. (Photo by Martin Hunter-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

In the other three matches played, Papua New Guinea (PNG) recorded an eight wicket victory over Namibia, Scotland defeated Canada by 170 runs, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) vanquished Hong Kong by 22 runs.

Thursday’s results mean that the teams to progress to the Super Six stage of the ICC CWCQ 2014, which starts on Sunday, are Group A’s Scotland, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), alongside Papua New Guinea (PNG), Namibia and Kenya from Group B.

In the match of the day, an ODI battle for the third and final Group B spot in the Super Six stage, two centuries were struck as Kenya defeated the Netherlands by four wickets to leapfrog the Dutch into the top three.

After being sent in to bat, Netherlands set a cracking pace, with opener Eric Szwarczynski (57) and Wesley Barresi (137 not out) putting on a 148 run partnership that helped the Netherlands stack up a total of 265 for six.

However, the day belonged to Kenya opener Irfan Karim, the man of the match who wasted no time in the run chase, striking an 84-ball 108, including 14 boundaries.  Ragheb Aga (86 from 70 balls) and Collins Obuya (37 from 24 balls) continued the pace, and Kenya reached 266 in 35.4 overs with four wickets in hand.

Kenya skipper Rakep Patel said the win was a relief.  “There was a lot of pressure on the boys today. They really performed and got us through to the next round.”

“Chasing 265 could have been very difficult. But the way Irfan Karim and Ragheb Aga batted today was very good, and Collins Obuya finished things off nicely,” he said.

“This win means a lot to the team, and to everyone back home. The boys have believed in themselves and changed their own luck.  The senior players are displaying real leadership and commitment.”

Lega Siaka of Papua New Guinea pictured with Geraint Jones acknowledges his temamates after scoring a century during an ICC World Cup qualifying match between Papua New Guinea and Namibia. (Photo by Joel Ford-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

A disappointed Netherlands captain Peter Borren was not making any excuses for his side’s loss.  “A lot went wrong today, in the field particularly. Their two batsmen played beautifully, and we didn’t respond well.

“We probably didn’t get enough runs in our last ten overs. We could have killed them off there with wickets in hand. But they bowled well and we struggled to get it away. That was pretty crucial,” he said.

In the second ODI of the day, Calum MacLeod struck the highest individual score of the tournament to lead Scotland to a resounding 170-runs victory over Canada to seal a spot in the Super Six stage.

MacLeod, whose175 came from 141 balls, led from the front along with Matt Machan (68), before a five-wicket haul from Khurram Chohan (five for 68) led to a mini-batting collapse. However, Scotland recovered to post 341 for nine.

Canada did not recover from a shaky start, and was dismissed for 171 inside 40 overs.  A valiant effort from Hamza Tariq (71) kept the side in the chase, however, he had little support from his team mates.

For Scotland, Rob Taylor, Iain Wardlaw and Safyaan Sharif took two wickets apiece.

Scotland captain Preston Mommsen was thrilled with the result.  “We’ve achieved our first goal of making it in to the Super Six stage, and I’m very happy with the way we’ve gone. We’re playing an aggressive brand of cricket, and I’m a very happy chap.”

“We’ve turned things around since losing to Hong Kong. There’s a lot of confidence in the team. We’re scoring at a good rate and guys are building good scores,” he said.

“The games from here on will only get tougher. Every match from now on is a must win. We’ll take it one game at a time, but we’re buzzing to get started in the Super Six.”

Canada captain Jimmy Hansra was disappointed with the result.  “Today it was just Calum’s day. A batsman getting 175 is not something you see every day. He really took the game away from us.”

“To be fair, both our batting and bowling didn’t perform in this tournament,” he said.

At Bay Oval 2, Mount Maunganui, opener Lega Siaka’s blistering unbeaten knock of 112 saw PNG storm to an eight wicket victory over Namibia.

The opener faced 82 balls, striking nine fours and seven sixes, four of which were consecutive sixes in the 25th over to overtake the Namibia total of 163.

Earlier, Gerrie Snyman (54) and Craig Williams (27) anchored the Namibia innings, but the side was dismissed for 163 from 48.4 overs.  Mahuru Dai claimed three wickets for 34, while Charles Amini, Pipi Raho and Chris Amini taking two apiece.

Man of the match Siaka said his team has aimed to score a big victory.  “We were looking at net run-rate and that’s why I was going hard with the ball.  I was trying to make the run rate faster, so hopefully it has worked.  The boys are happy and I am happy too.”

PNG captain Chris Amini was delighted with his team’s performance.  “I am a very happy man this afternoon.  Our first goal was to get through the play-off stages, and we’ve done that.  Now we have to push on from here for a World Cup spot.”

“We’ll keep going how we’ve been going.  Our downfall was against Netherlands, our execution for bowling and batting.  But it worked today. We create our own luck, really, by working hard off the field and on the field, so we are looking forward to the Super Six stage.”

Namibia captain Sarel Burger said his team will need to improve for the Super Six stage.  “The day was a bit disappointing, the batting once again didn’t kick off like we wanted it to do, but there are positives that we can take out of the match, so we are looking forward to the Super Sixes, and from now on the matches are all must-wins, so we are quite excited.”

The skipper said that his side is prepared for the Super Six stage, which will be played in Christchurch. “We played two warm-up games in Christchurch, the first one was against Nepal and the second one was against Scotland, so we’ve got quite accustomed to the conditions and what’s happening there.”

In the final match of the day, a rapid-fire 78 from captain Khurram Khan saw the UAE record a 22 run victory over Hong Kong in a top of the table clash at Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown.

The UAE inflicted Hong Kong’s first defeat of the tournament after posting 249 from 48.1 overs, thanks to contributions from Amjad Ali (49), Rohan Mustafa (32) and Mohammad Naveed (29 not out).

Haseeb Amjad (three for 33) was the main wicket-taker for Hong Kong.

Mark Chapman (59) and Babar Hayat (46 not out) scored the runs in Hong Kong’s run chase, however, the side fell short by 22 runs, with a four-wicket haul for Manjula Guruge (four for 39) and three for Rohan Mustafa proving too much.

UAE captain Khurram Khan was thrilled with his team’s victory, and confirmation that it will advance to the Super Six stage.  “It is a wonderful feeling. We played superbly, and we take the two points from today’s win through into the next round. That’s really important.”

Khurram Khan gave credit to his batsmen for the win. “Our strength is batting, and now everybody is scoring well.  The batting is clicking and that’s a very good sign for the Super Six.”

“We’re definitely confident we can qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup. We’ll take each game as it comes, but we’re feeling good,” he said.

Hong Kong captain Jamie Atkinson was disappointed with the result, but was optimistic about his team’s prospects for the rest of the tournament.  “Obviously we’re very disappointed to lose today after three pretty convincing performances, and with UAE qualifying as well it’s a shame we couldn’t win and take those points through with us.”

“The Super Six stage is going to be tough. All the teams that have made it through deserve to be there, but three games in six days will really test everyone.”

The Super Six matches will be played at Rangiora Oval, Hagley Oval and Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Christchurch from 26 to 30 January, with each team carrying forward its points from the group stage that it won against other Super Six teams.

During the same period, play-off matches will be played at Bay Oval and Bay Oval 2, Mount Maunganui, to determine the final positions of Canada, Nepal, Netherlands and Uganda.

Scores in brief:
At Bay Oval 2, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, North Island
Namibia 163 all out, 48.4 overs (Gerrie Snyman 54, Craig Williams 27; Mahuru Dai 3-34, Charles Amini 2-24, Pipi Raho 2-25, Chris Amini 2-25)
PNG 164 for two, 25 overs (Lega Siaka 112 not out)
Result: PNG won by eight wickets
Man of the Match: Lega Siaka (PNG)

At Hagley Oval, Christchurch, South Island (ODI)
Scotland 341 for nine, 50 overs (Calum MacLeod 175, Matt Machan 68, Freddie Coleman 40; Khurram Chohan 5-68, Nitish Kumar 2-40)
Canada 171 all out, 39.2 overs (Hamza Tariq 71, Nitish Kumar 26; Rob Taylor 2-47, Iain Wardlaw 2-30, Safyaan Sharif 2-23)
Result: Scotland won by 170 runs
Man of the Match: Calum MacLeod (Scotland)

At Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln, South Island (ODI)
Netherlands 265 for six, 50 overs (Wesley Barresi 137 not out, Eric Szwarczynski 57, Michael Swart 29, Peter Borren 28;  Lameck Onyango 2-50)
Kenya 266 for six, 35.4 overs (Irfan Karim 108, Ragheb Aga 86, Collins Obuya 37; Ahsan Malik 3-54, Mudassar Bukhari 3-88)
Result: Kenya won by four wickets
Man of the Match: Irfan Karim (Kenya)

At Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown, South Island
UAE 249 all out, 48.1 overs (Khurram Khan 78, Amjad Ali 49, Rohan Mustafa 32, Mohammad Naveed 29 not out; Haseeb Amjad 3-33, Haseeb Amjad 2-46, Aizaz Khan 2-53)
Hong Kong 227 all out, 49.4 overs (Mark Chapman 59, Babar Hayat 46 not out; Manjula Guruge 4-39, Rohan Mustafa 3-53)
Result: UAE won by 22 runs
Man of the Match: Khurram Khan (UAE)