ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2014
Canada has kept its slim hopes of qualifying for the Super Six stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2014 (CWCQ) alive with a 12-runs victory over Nepal, while Namibia has strengthened its lead at the top of Group B with a 100-runs victory over Uganda on day nine of the tournament.

Raza ur-Rehman (right) with teammates after collecting the man-of-the-match award.

In a vital Group A clash at Hagley Oval, Christchurch, both Canada and Nepal were looking for their first win of the tournament. After rain delayed the start of play and reduced the game to 41 overs per side, Canada elected to bat and set about scoring runs quickly.  Nineteen-year-old opener Nitish Kumar posted a rapid-fire 67, including five fours and the only two sixes of the Canada innings, however, the day belonged to middle-order batsman Raza-ur-Rehman, whose knock of 89 came from just 87 balls.  When Raza was run out in the 35th over, the middle and lower orders carried on the good work, with Hamza Tariq adding 34 runs before the side reached 255 for the loss of nine wickets from its 41 overs.

Sompal Kami was the pick of the Nepal bowlers, claiming three for 64 runs, while Basant Regmi picked up two for 51 runs.

The Nepal run chase started ominously, with opener Sagar Pun dismissed for a duck in the first over.  Pradeep Airee steadied the ship with a knock of 26, before Gyanendra Malla added 86 runs.  Tail-ender Basant Regmi scored a quick-fire 25 from 17 balls to no avail. Nepal reached 243 for eight wickets, 13 runs short of its target.

Khurram Chohan was the stand out bowler for Canada, claiming four wickets for 59 runs.

Canada will now face Scotland in its final Group stage match in an ODI encounter that both sides need to win to secure the final Group A spot in the Super Six stage of the tournament.

Canada captain Jimmy Hansra said it felt good to post a win and get some points on the board. “It was an exciting game, and a good all-round effort from the boys.

“It was one of the better batting efforts of the tournament – more than six runs an over for 41 overs. Hopefully we can bat like that in our next match against Scotland,” he said.

Canada’s win came despite several dropped catches in the final few overs of the game.  Hansra said that is something Canada will work on before the next match. “We’ve got to do a lot better defending in the field. We’ll pay for it if we drop catches like that against Scotland.”

However, the skipper remained confident.  “We’ve got a hill to climb to progress in this tournament, but we’ve got to go for it.”

Today’s loss was Nepal’s fourth in row, and means that the side will miss out on the Super Six stage of the tournament.

Disappointed Nepal captain Paras Khadka said his team pushed hard for the win but had not been consistent enough.  “Things really haven’t gone well for us. We came to New Zealand really well prepared but we haven’t executed our plans and we haven’t played anywhere near to our potential.”

“We need to show more consistency. We want to stay as highly ranked as possible, so we will continue to push ourselves in the remaining matches in the tournament,” he said.

In the second match played on Tuesday, Namibia secured a place in the Super Six stage with its third successive victory, defeating Uganda by 100 runs at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui.

In a match reduced to 36 overs per side due to morning rain, Namibia’s bowlers smothered the Uganda chase of 161, with Louis Klazinga (four for 27), Christi Viljoen (three for 16) and JJ Smit (two for six) combining to dismiss Uganda for 61 in 17.5 overs. The trio ensured that Phillimon Mukobe (23 not out) was the only batsman to reach double figures.  In gusty afternoon conditions, Uganda was not able to build any strong partnerships, and Viljoen and Klazinga combined to take the last four wickets for 13 runs in 3.3 overs to dismiss Uganda 101 runs short of its target.

Earlier, Namibia posted a competitive total of 161 for the loss of nine wickets, with openers LP van der Westhuizen scoring 52 and Stephan Baard adding 27 from 22 balls to get the side off to a strong start.  Left-arm medium pacer Charles Waiswa claimed both their wickets on his way to a match haul of four for 30, but the Namibia batsmen were able to rally, with Craig Williams adding 23 and Nicolaas Scholtz posting 18 to see the side reach a total of 161 with one wicket in hand from its allotted overs.

Klazinga’s and Waiswa’s efforts are the third and fourth best bowling figures for the tournament, respectively.

Man of the match van der Westhuizen, appearing in his first match of the tournament, was pleased with his performance. “It was quite tough, with the ball seaming around so we just had to keep the composure and take it deep into the innings, and luckily I was able to do that.”

The 25-year-old was confident ahead of his side’s final group match against Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Thursday. “We still have one game against PNG, so we’ll prepare for that one and see if we can make it a white wash in the group stages.”

Uganda captain Davis Karashani Arinaitwe was disappointed with his side’s batting.  “I think as a side we bowled and fielded well to restrict Namibia to 160.  Again, when it mattered most with the bat, we didn’t pitch up.  And the conditions became much windier by the second innings and the ball swung much more than it did earlier, and I guess we just couldn’t cope with the swing.”

Having completed its four matches of the group stages, Uganda will now be looking to the play-off stage of the tournament, to be played in Mount Maunganui.  “We’ve had a look on the ground that we’re going to be playing on and we know what to expect, so we’ll spend five days practicing and looking around, getting the guys to focus a bit. I think it’s a very important game for us considering where we have come from, and that game will give us what we want to achieve.  We’re looking at a top eight finish; that would be at least satisfactory to us.”

Scores in brief:
At Bay Oval 2 Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, North Island
Namibia 161 for nine, 36 overs (LP van der Westhuizen 52, Stephan Baard 27; Charles Waiswa 4-30, Patrick Ochan 2-27)
Uganda 61 all out, 17.5 overs (Phillimon Mukobe 23 not out; Louis Klazinga 4-27, Christi Viljoen 3-16, JJ Smit 2-6)
Result: Namibia won by 100 runs
Man of the Match: LP van der Westhuizen (Namibia)

At Hagley Oval, Christchurch, South Island
Canada 255 for nine, 41 overs (Raza-ur-Rehman 89, Nitish Kumar 67, Hamza Tariq 34; Sompal Kami 3-64, Basant Regmi 2-51)
Nepal 243 for eight, 41 overs (Gyanendra Malla 86, Pradeep Airee 26, Basant Regmi 25 not out; Khurram Chohan 4-59)
Result: Canada won by 12 runs
Man of the Match: Raza ur-Rehman (Canada)

Group A

Rank Team Matches Won Lost Tied N/R Net RR Points
1 Hong Kong 3 3 0 0 0 1.649 6
2 UAE 3 2 1 0 0 1.008 4
3 Scotland 3 2 1 0 0 0.984 4
4 Canada 3 1 2 0 0 -1.552 2
5 Nepal 4 0 4 0 0 -1.567 0

Group B

Rank Team Matches Won Lost Tied N/R Net RR Points
1 Namibia 3 3 0 0 0 1.45 6
2 Netherlands 3 2 1 0 0 0.93 4
3 PNG 3 2 1 0 0 0.494 4
4 Kenya 3 1 2 0 0 0.048 2
5 Uganda 4 0 4 0 0 -2.259 0