JP Kotze's 109-ball 136 denied USA a clean sweep in their first home ODI series against Namibia Getty

Nothing but net run rate separates the top five teams in Cricket World Cup League 2 after the second of 24 trilateral ODI series in Florida finished this week, but Papua New Guinea languish at the toe end of the table, winless after eight matches.

The trilateral series between the USA, Namibia and Papua New Guinea which saw the former two sides play their first matches in the competition, saw the Namibia and the States join Scotland and Oman at the top with three wins from four games, but PNG, despite having played in both series so far, are yet to open their account.

The Papuans went winless in the competition's opening series, which was played at Aberdeen last month, as hosts Scotland and Oman both recorded two victories over the Baramundis - as the PNG mens' side is known - and slit honours across their two matches against each other.

PNG faced off against the hosts for the series opener last Thursday (September 19th), the first recognised One Day International to be played on American soil - some 175 years after the country hosted the first ever international cricket match.

The Papuans again started strongly against a heavily favoured home side, left arm seamer Nosaina striking twice early as the Americans slid to 43-3, but Aaron Jones steadied the innings with a measured 77 off 199 balls to get the hosts close to the 200 mark before the veteran Elmore Hutchinson hit out at the death, ending unbeaten on 42 off just 21 deliveries.

Rain then intervened to substantially abbreviate the PNG reply, leaving them with a target of 165 off 25 overs. Skipper Asad Vala's 48 from number 3 provided something of a platform despite a climbing required rate and regular wickets falling, with left arm spinner Karima Gore removing Norman Vanua and Lega Siaka in successive deliveries. Charles Amini nonetheless looked like he might seal PNG's first points as he raced to 53 off 34 balls, but debutant Rusty Theron, formerly of South Africa, would remove him with 17 still needed and PNG would fall 6 runs short.

The States would make it two-from-two when they saw off fellow league debutants Namibia in the second match some four days later, the schedule inexplicably skipping over the weekend entirely and duly paying the price of persistently abysmal attendance. Even without the burden of a hostile crowd, Namibia, who have something of a reputation for travelling poorly, again looked out of sorts as they took to the field fresh off the plane, crumbling to 121 all-out in the face of the USA spin attack.

Off-spinning all-rounder Steven Taylor was the star this time round with figures of 4-23, and would be the linchpin of the USA reply, top-scoring with 43, though the Americans would show their own susceptibility to south-paw spin in the chase, slow left-armers Bernard Scholz and Zhivago each picking up a pair of wickets as the Namibians made their hosts work hard for the win.

The hosts were back in action against PNG two days later, and again the Papuans started strongly- reducing the Americans to 100-7 by the 30 over mark. But keeper-bat Monank Patel rallied the lower order with a gutsy 66 off 99, aided by some more defiant hitting from Hutchinson, though both would eventually fall to the impressive left arm seam of Noisana Pokana - whose performances have provided something of a silver lining to an otherwise grim PNG campaign.

With 177 on the board the hosts had something to bowl at, and it would prove more than enough as the Barramundi's susceptibility to spin, especially left arm orthodox spin, resurfaced. Having struggled against Scotland's Hamza Tahir and Oman's Zeeshan Maqsood, it would again be the irrepressible Karima Gore that proved PNG's undoing, taking 4-20 in his 10 overs as aided by fellow left-armer Nisarg Patel he spun the Papuans out for 115, Vala the only bat top pass 20.

The Americans' hopes of a clean sweep in their first home ODI series were dashed in the next match however, and indeed dashed in some style by the Namibia's number three JP Kotze, who smashed 136 off just 109 balls to set up an emphatic three-figure win for the tourists.

Kotze's innings was his third landmark century in Namibia colours this year, having hit his first List A ton at WCL Division 2 in April - a similarly brutalising 148 - and hit Namibia's first century in a full-status T20I against Botswana just last month, and indeed he looked set to double-up with fully 23 overs still remaining when a lapse in concentration saw him caught off Jessy Singh to leave Namibia on 178-3.

The wicket would trigger something of a fightback from the hosts, but Jan Frylinck wrenched the momentum back in the final phase with 60 off 43 from number 8 as Namibia posted an imposing 287-9 from the 49 overs the rain allowed them. The target would prove well beyond the hosts, as again left arm spin proved the key to unlocking victory, Groenewald claiming a maiden ODI five-for as the USA were spun out for 142.

With the hosts' matches in the series scheduled early to accommodate an envisaged but now superfluous warm up tour ahead of the next month's World Cup Qualifiers, the final two games saw the two sets of tourists square off against one another.

The first would see the Barramudis cross 200 for the first time in the series, Vala and Amini again the chief contributors, but again they were pegged back by Namibia's spin attack, struggling particularly against the left arm pair of Groenewald and Scholtz, who took five wickets for 72 runs between them. Naimbia skipper Gerhard Erasmus's 88 off 100 anchored the Namibia chase, with support from JP Kotze taking them to 190-4 before holing out off the legspin of Amini, and Craig Williams would see the Namibians home with ten balls to spare, Pokana again pick of the PNG bowlers with 2-30 off eight overs.

The left-arm seamer was again the best of the Barramundi bowling in the final game of the tour, taking three wickets for 32 at the death on a track that was beginning to slow up, but a composed 73 off 97 from opener Stephen Baard had set the innings on track, whilst Zane Green, JJ Smit and latterly Jan Frylinck continued to build momentum down the order. Pokana was only brought back late in the game, returning only in the 46th over having bowled only four over till then.

His three wickets at the death pegged Namibia back, but not far enough, PNG left with with 261 to chase on a tricky wicket. Were it not for Vala striking his maiden ODI century, they would not have got even close - Tony Ura's 28 from the top of the order being the next best score. Left arm spin again proved key, though this time it was Scholtz who shone with four wickets for 27 as PNG were bowled out for 233 in the 48th over.

The 27-run margin of victory was enough to see Namibia claim the honours for the series on net run rate over their hosts, but not quite enough to catch Scotland at the top of the CWC League 2 table. With 22 series still to come, however, such fine distinctions are largely academic at this point. The essential picture is that the USA and Namibia are effectively level with Scotland and Oman after their first series, whilst Papua New Guinea are facing a considerable deficit having played two series wtihout reward.

PNG will have to wait until June of next year, when they are slated to host the UAE and Nepal at Port Moresby, for their next chance to find a win. The USA and Namibia will be back in action rather sooner, with the Americans' scheduled to join Scotland and the UAE for the next trilateral series in Dubai in December, while Namibia will take on Oman and the UAE at Muscat the following month.