Two places still up for grabs for next year's event in New Zealand
Afghanistan, Ireland, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the USA secured their places in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup after recording victories in the U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Toronto on Tuesday.
This means just two qualifying spots are now remaining for what is surely going to be an exciting finish to the nine-team event.
In Tuesday's matches, Ireland defeated Hong Kong by 93 runs, Afghanistan beat Uganda by three wickets, the USA overpowered the Netherlands by 33 runs and PNG outsmarted Vanuatu by five wickets.
Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie admitted his side was delighted to qualify for the World Cup after victory over Hong Kong. "It's huge for us to qualify, particularly when we have got two games of our campaign still in hand," said Balbirnie.
His 70, along with James Shannon's 68 not out, helped Ireland post a competitive score of 252-7 off 50 overs. In its target chase, Hong Kong was bowled out for 159 with George Dockrell taking 6-19 and Liam Nelson bagging 4-30 as only Ashish Gadhia (58) put up any resistance with the bat.
"Now the aim is to move on and win the tournament and I think we can do that as we have done really well here, apart from the loss to the USA," said Balbirnie.
Balbirnie believed his side was capable of having an impact at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup and also paid tribute to senior coach Phil Simmons, who has been in Toronto during the tournament to watch matches. "Our aim is to beat a Test playing nation at the World Cup. We know it will be a big task as we know how good players from those countries are.
"It's been really good to have Phil here as he is an experienced coach and player. He has been talking to us one on one to help improve our games and it has been great for him to be here," said Balbirnie.
Afghanistan enjoyed a three-wicket victory over Uganda to confirm a place in next year's event in New Zealand despite arriving late due to visa issues.
Zakiullah Zaki's 3-22 helped Afghanistan to bowl out Uganda for 182 in 49.1 overs before it reached the target with 7.2 overs to spare.
"I am very happy especially for the people back in Afghanistan," said skipper Shir Mohammad Shirzai. "It is a great achievement for the country. All the boys are really excited. It has been a dream to play in a World Cup against some of the big nations like India and Pakistan."
PNG achieved a comfortable five-wicket win over Vanuatu to also earn a seat on the plane to New Zealand next year.
Batting first, Vanuatu got off to a positive start with Lazaro Carlot (40) and Walford Kalworai (38) adding 68 for the first wicket although nobody went on to make a big contribution. For PNG, Charles Amini turned out to be the chief destroyer with the ball taking 4-32.
In reply, Lega Tau (36), Sese Bau (36) and Vagi Oala (31 not out) steered PNG to a comfortable victory although it was the efforts of Amini with the ball that won him the Man of the Match Award.
"I didn't really expect to win the Man of the Match Award," admitted Amini, who was part of the PNG squad that participated in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in Malaysia in 2008.
"We're still not satisfied with everything we have achieved here – we want to win all our games and finish on the podium. I definitely want to get a chance to play at the World Cup again. I think we have the potential to do well as we have lots of stars in our team."
The USA also secured a place in the 2010 event after an exciting 33-run victory over the Netherlands.
The USA made 204 all out in 48.4 overs and then bowled out the Dutch for 171 all out in 45.4 overs.
Commenting after the Netherlands match, the USA captain Shiva Vashishat said: "People don't realise that cricket is growing fast in the USA. But now that we have qualified for the World Cup, it shows the pace of its growth and popularity of the sport," said Shiva Vashishat, the USA skipper.
"We are looking forward to come hard at the bigger teams at the World Cup and do well. It will be a very good experience as we all want to make it to the senior team."
At Maple Leaf 1:
Ireland 252-7, 50 overs (Balbirnie 70, Nelson 68 not out)
Hong Kong 159 all out, 45.4 overs (Ashish Gadhia 58, George Dockrell 6-19, Liam Nelson 4-30)
Ireland won by 93 runs
At Maple Leaf 2:
Vanuatu 193 all out, 43.5 overs (Lazaro Carlot 40, Walford Kalworai 38; Charles Amini 4-32)
Papua New Guinea 195-5, 41.1.overs (Lega Tau 36, Sese Bau 36, Vagi Oala 31 not out)
Papua New Guinea won by five wickets
At Maple Leaf 3:
Uganda 182 all out, 49.1 overs (Zakiullah Zaki 3-22)
Afghanistan 183-7, 42.4 overs
Afghanistan won by three wickets
At Maple Leaf 4:
USA 204 all out, 48.4 overs (Asad Ghous 39, Philip van den Brandeler 3-48)
Netherlands 171 all out, 45.4 overs (Mels Hartman 33, Timothy Gruijters 30, Saqib Saleem 3-42)
USA won by 33 runs
Fixtures for Thursday 10 Sep:
USA v PNG, Maple Leaf 1; Vanuatu v Canada, Maple Leaf 2; Afghanistan v Netherlands, Maple Leaf 3; Ireland v Uganda, Maple Leaf 4
A broadcast feature on the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier is now available for download from www.nuview.tv
. To access the feature, please login and register, before using ‘wellington' as the password to download the feature.