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The International Cricket Council (ICC) had decided to organise a tournament to decide on the two ICC Associate nations that would take part in the World Cup 1979. They had shortlisted 15 teams, placing them in five groups:
Group A: Argentina, Bermuda, East Africa, Papua New Guinea, and Singapore.
Group B: Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, and Malaysia.
Group C: Israel, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, USA, Wales.
The matches were 60-over encounters, were played in red balls, and were held in England — the venue of the World Cup that would feature the two best teams of the ICC Trophy. The tournament started with two matches on May 22 — between Argentina and Singapore at Pickwick Cricket Club Ground, Birmingham and Hampton Road, Warwick, but the former is considered the first match.
Argentina, the defending World Cup Football champions, batted first, and were quickly reduced to 39 for three by the off-breaks of Stacey Muruthi. At this point Chris Nino, the Argentine captain, joined Tony Ferguson, and the pair added 55 for the fourth stand.
Just when it seemed that the pair had taken Argentina out of danger, the leg-breaks of Lawrence Young Ken Sen turned out to be more than a handful for the South Americans. Both set batsmen were dismissed, and wicket-keeper Derek Culley was left stranded as Young Ken Sen ran through the Argentines with five for 44. Argentina finished on 154 for nine.
Argentina struck back through Alan Morris and Charles Tudor, and Singapore were left tottering at 43 for four. There was a crucial stand between Muruthi and Steve Houghton, but when Morris trapped the former leg-before and the latter had to retire hurt, the match was back in the balance once again.
The tail did not wag, and Singapore lost three wickets for one run before Rex Martens provided some support to Goh Swee Heng. Martens with Singapore still six short — but there was still some drama left in the humdinger as Houghton walked out to join Goh Swee Heng. The remaining seven runs were scored with four balls to spare.
Elsewhere, Canada piled up 185 (Cecil Marshall showing the way with 77) before John Vaughan (four for 33) and Marshall (three for 16) routed Malaysia for 141.
Argentina 154 for 9 in 60 overs (Tony Ferguson 43; Young Ken Sen 5 for 44) lost to Singapore 155 for 9 in 59.2 overs (Goh Swee Heng 40*; Alan Morris 4 for 25) by 1 wicket.
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