Ireland clinch berth at 2011 World Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Ireland's cricketers clinched a second consecutive appearance at the World Cup, beating the Netherlands by 6 wickets in an ICC qualifying tournament.

Updated: April 16, 2009 17:30 IST
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Ireland's cricketers clinched a second consecutive appearance at the World Cup, beating the Netherlands by six wickets in an ICC qualifying tournament in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Winning the toss and opting to field, Ireland's seamers struck regularly to limit the Netherlands to 222. Ireland's opening batsmen laid a solid platform with a stand of 60 for the first wicket. Then scores of 78 from captain William Porterfield and 76 from Eoin Morgan ensured a comfortable victory with more than five overs remaining.

Afghanistan defeated Scotland by 42 runs to keep their hopes alive of gaining full One-Day International status.

Scotland elected to field after winning the toss but were simply outplayed and are now in danger of failing to qualify for the 2011 tournament. The Scots must now beat the United Arab Emirates on Friday and hope that other results go their way for them to gain one of the four qualification spots.

Spearheaded by Karim Khan, who scored 92 including 10 fours, and by captain Nowroz Mangal's 72, Afghanistan set Scotland an imposing target of 279.

That Scotland even came close was thanks to a fine innings by Kyle Coetzer, who made 91, and Gavin Hamilton's 71. However, with 158 needed off the final 20 overs, not even some good hitting by the pair could lift Scotland and, after losing wickets at regular intervals, the end came with 17 balls remaining.

"I am very happy at the moment that my team won against a team like Scotland, who are one of the big teams in the tournament and who have played in two World Cups," said Karim Khan.

"It was very hard batting today and I was very disappointed to miss out on my century. But it was good to get two wickets as well. I am hoping that I can score a century on Friday as I want to give Afghanistan a big chance of getting to the World Cup."

Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan took pride in his team's performance.

"We are acting like a giant killer in this tournament," he said. "I am very proud of my boys and it shows that it wasn't a fluke that we got through the World Cup qualifying rounds."

In other matches, Canada won the toss and elected to bat before going down heavily to the United Arab Emirates, who chased down Canada's 196, scoring 200-5 in 31 overs and two balls.

Namibia trounced Kenya, winning by 201 runs after the Kenyans won the toss and elected to field. An opening partnership of 191 in 31.1 overs by Jan-Berrie Burger and Raymond van Schoor, which was only broken when Burger tried to hit Lameck Onyango out of the ground and was stumped, set up the victory as Namibia posted an impressive 305 runs .

Kenya's batsmen were never in the chase and were all out for 104 in just 30 overs.

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