Afghanistan and Namibia extended their unbeaten runs in the World Twenty20 qualifiers to five wins each on Sunday, with Afghanistan all-rounder Samiullah Shenwari hitting a half-century and taking four wickets in the win over Canada.
Afghanistan defeated Canada by 41 to stay on top of Group A, while Namibia defeated Kenya by seven wickets to head Group B.
In other crucial matches, the Netherlands made short work of Papua New Guinea by nine wickets to record their fourth win and Nepal beat Bermuda by 24, a third win in Group A.
In Group B, Ireland had the better of traditional rivals Scotland by 17 which gave William Porterfield’s side a fourth win, while Italy are back in contention thanks to a 13-run victory over Uganda.
Shenwari’s performance stood out as the all-rounder first scored 61 off 34 balls with six fours and three sixes in his side’s 174 for eight against Canada. He then returned figures of 4-0-14-4 as Canada were restricted to 133 for nine.
“I am grateful that I was given a chance to bat higher up the order. I am very happy to take four wickets and score 61 runs. We are all feeling very confident and I am hoping we will have six wins from six and then seven wins from seven,” he said. “It is up to the players to keep working hard and concentrate on the cricket. We are very happy to have Kabir Khan back coaching us and things are going well.”
In the Namibia-Kenya match, Namibia’s Louis Klazinga took 4-9 as Kenya lost their last nine wickets for 24 to be bowled out for 108 in 18.4 overs. In reply, Namibia chased down the target with 21 balls and seven wickets to spare, with Raymond van Schoor returning undefeated on 49.
Ireland prevailed over Scotland by 17. Ed Joyce clubbed the last two deliveries of Ireland’s innings for sixes to lift his side to 159 for five. Scotland finished at 142 for seven, despite Kyle Coetzer’s 62 off 52 balls.
Nepal captain Paras Khadka hit an unbeaten 65 and claimed one for 31 to help his side score a 24-run victory over Bermuda.
“Bermuda didn’t play that badly against us, but they were always going to struggle to chase down 150 against our bowling. It was a good effort by our bowlers, but maybe we could have improved a bit, but that’s always the case in any game,” Khadka said.
The 16 teams are vying for two spots in this year’s World Twenty20 to be played in Sri Lanka in September and October.