11th place play-off
Kenya and Canada played off in a match that bizarrely boasted full Twenty20 International status. Kenya were inspired by some clean hitting from the veteran Tikolo, and, although they stalled after losing him, posted a solid 146. That was too much for Canada's weaker batsmen, and a virtuoso 46 from Ashish Bagai wasn't nearly enough.
Kenya finish 11th, Canada 12th
13th place play-off
Bermuda and Uganda probably found their rightful place in this tournament. The Ugandans, though, wanted to finish with pride, and Hamza Saleh hit their highest score of the tournament with 45. After a tidy bowling performance, the Bermudians batted pretty well but without urgency, and fell a dozen short of their 135-run target.
Uganda finish 13th, Bermuda 14th
15th place play-off
Despite almost putting one over Afghanistan, Denmark have been consistently feeble all month. They fought back respectably after an explosive American opening stand as Hamid Shah took three wickets, but he was outshone by Danial Ahmed's five wicket bag. After Klokker departed, Carsten Pedersen watched a collapse from the other end.
USA finish 15th, Denmark 16th
In the first quarter-final, Nepal and Hong were both playing for their place in their inaugural qualifying event, and they produced an absolute thriller. Not one of the Hong Kong batsmen really cashed in, but by virtue of four twenties, they succeeded in setting their opponents a tricky 145 to win. The standard rule of thumb is that when Paras Khadka gets runs, Hong Kong win, and he scored 46 at a good rate. However, when Babar Hayat ran him out, Nepal were far from home and dry. After a four and six at the start of the over, Haseeb Amjad and the electric Hong Kong fielders had to stop Sharad Vesawkar from stealing a single from the last ball. They couldn't, and the huge Nepalese contingent of the crowd were ecstatic.
Nepal qualify, Hong Kong to qualifying play-off
In the other quarter-final, the UAE faced off against the Netherlands. Ahsan Malik Jamil was excellent in keeping the UAE below a run-a-ball, which was a target the Dutch really should chase. However, Shadeep Silva's spin was too tricky for the Dutch batsmen, and his four overs set the tone for a failed chase. Nasir Aziz tidied p with three wickets.
UAE qualify, Netherlands to play-off
Nepal defeated Hong Kong from the last ball to qualify.
While the two thrilling quarter-finals took place, four other sides fought desperately for survival. Among them, Italy were outclassed by their ODI opponents. Despite a gritty 46 from Andy Northcote, their batsmen couldn't get the Scots off the square. Calum MacLeod and Richie Berrington kept things going, but ultimately were unable to get the Scots to a ten-wicket win. It was too late, though, for a come-back.
Italy out, Scotland face Netherlands
The result of the other qualifying semi was something of a shock, if only because of how unsurprising it was. Namibia have been plagued by political issues of late, and produced a performance lacking in intensity. Only the Scholtz brothers got into the wicket column, and not one batsman could stick with Craig Williams as the African side tried to chase PNG's 145. Pipi Raho backed his coach's faith with three scalps.
Namibia out, PNG face Hong Kong
If they wanted to beat the Dutch, Scotland didn't help themselves by losing both openers for ducks. Matt Machan and Michael Leask had to rebuild, Machan taking the measured approach while his partner tried to cart sixes. Both were successful, with half-centuries. More successful still was Dutch gloveman Wesley Barresi, whose nerveless unbeaten 75 was the driving force in the Dutch chase of 148 with overs to spare.
Scotland out, Netherlands qualify
Earlier on at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Hong Kong had secured their place as the eight Asian team in the World Twenty20. Despite Raho and Gavera sharing six wickets between them, Hong Kong managed to post 137, 48 of which were from Babar Hayat. The Hong Kong bowlers and fielders worked their socks off, so PNG's batsmen couldn't get the ball off the square or themselves to Bangladesh.
PNG out, Hong Kong qualify
9th place play-off
The Italians went into this game with nothing to lose, but you wouldn't have known it from their nervy batting. Only Crowley and Sandri really made meaningful contributions, and some poor calling late in the innings led to three run outs. However, the Namibians were still less convincing, and the young side crumbled. Gareth Berg capped an excellent tournament by claiming a hat-trick to finish an Italian win.
Italy finish 9th, Namibia 10th
5th place play-off
This game between the Netherlands and Hong Kong would determine the groups for the World T20, so it carried weight. Hong Kong's usually dependable batting folded again, but Babar Hayat was there to stop the rot once again, this time supported by Waqas Barkat. Still, 121 was hardly an imposing title, and even the spin threat of Nizakat Khan (three for ten) wasn't enough to stop the Dutch winning easily by seven wickets. Ben Cooper was very impressive with a rapid 42.
Netherlands 5th, Hong Kong 6th
7th place play-off
They might both have been out of the running for the World Twenty20, but both Scotland and PNG had a lot of pride resting on this game. The Pacific side wanted to leave the tournament as the best of the rest, with another HPP scalp to their credit, while Scotland desperately wanted to salvage some shred of dignity from proceedings. PNG's batsmen were competent, although not exactly earth-shattering, on their way to a competitive 143. This had a lot to do with the late flurry of Jack Vare, although without tidy and incisive spells from Majid Haq and Neil Carter, things could also have spiralled in the other direction. In reply, Richie Berrington wasted no time in establishing himself as the main Scottish batting threat, while Pipi Raho's impressive recent form vanished as he delivered a generous smattering of wides. After that, Kyle Coetzer provided the most support as most of the runs came between the wickets. Scotland had hit only eight boundaries all innings before a six and four from Matthew Cross finished the innings, and the chase from the very last ball available.
Scotland finish 7th, Papua New Guinea 8th
The semis didn't really provide the same quality of entertainment as the play-offs yesterday, because the two sides generally accepted to be on the fast track to the final weren't planning on taking prisoners. Nepal, for instance, could manage only 90 against the much-vaunted Afghan attack, which just proved to be too strong. The Nepalese managed to grab a couple of wickets, but nothing game-changing.
Nepal out, Afghanistan in final
For a short while, it looked like the other semi might be more of a contest as the Emirati bowlers made a positive start. However, the veteran Trent Johnston impressed with his hitting power to take the Irish to 147. That proved to be more than sufficient as Max Sorensen set about proving his qualities. He claimed four top-order wickets while Tim Murtagh took four tail-enders, and the UAE subsided horribly.
UAE out, Ireland in final
Things got pretty embarrassing pretty quickly for the UAE.
Afghanistan and Ireland were the two favourites, are widely accepted as being the two best Associate nations, and have gone about proving it all tournament. Ireland in particular have been clinical, despite missing some key players since the last edition, while Afghanistan have looked occasionally fragile. The big surprise, for me at least, was that the Afghan bowling was what really suffered. Where the Irish have struggled recently to post big scores, that wasn't a problem. Paul Stirling and Trent Johnston (who must by now be thinking of continuing as a specialist batsman) starred as Ireland raced along at eleven and a half an over, on their way to one of the biggest ever Twenty20 International scores. Afghanistan tried to counter - Mohammad Shahzad and Gulbodin Naib were particularly vicious - but ultimately the Irish had just scored too many runs; enough to win the title once more.
Ireland finish 1st, Afghanistan 2nd
Third place play-off
Nepal and the UAE would not have been many people's tip for the third place contenders, but both have won when it mattered. Basanta Regmi, who has been excellent all tournament, starred with the ball as he claimed four cheap wickets and put the UAE right on the back foot. With only 131 to play with, Kamran Shazad did his best to keep the UAE in it, but Sharad Vesawkar continued his good form to see Nepal home.
Nepal finish 3rd, UAE 4th
And so concludes an epic tournament. Congratulations are in order for Ireland and especially Nepal and Hong Kong. I've been tipping Hong Kong for quite some time, although my nerve failed me when I wrote my preview, but I thought Nepal were over-reliant on Paras Khadka. Others had good tournaments, though, and stood up to be counted. The fact is, they've come a long way since they were introduced in the very bottom of the World Cricket League.