Buenos Aires:Afghanistan's hopes of reaching the 2011 World Cup suffered an early setback with a 13-run defeat at the hands of Uganda in the World Cricket League Division Three.
But Hong Kong got off to a flyer with a handsome seven-wicket win over hosts Argentina while Papua New Guinea defeated the Cayman Islands by six wickets.
The top two teams in the six-nation event will reach the 2011 World Cup qualifier in South Africa in April from where four countries will go on to the game's showpiece one-day event.
Uganda on Saturday made 216-8 off their 50 overs before Afghanistan endured a nightmare start to their reply where they slumped to 23-5 and then 53-6 before a 121-run stand for the seventh wicket between Rais Ahmadzai (74) and Samiullah Shenwari (53) brought them in touching distance.
"I would have been very disappointed if we had lost the game and been all out for less than 100 runs, but a great effort was put in by Rais and Samiullah," said Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan, a former Pakistan Test player.
"It shows how much strength we have in our batting." Kabir is confident that his side can get back on track with victory over Hong Kong today, a repeat of the Division Four final last year which Afghanistan won by 57 runs.
Hong Kong coach Aftab Habib praised his side after they dismissed Argentina for 107 and then reached their target with 22.4 overs to spare.
"I was really pleased as the first match is always an important match," said former England player Habib.
"We lost twice to Afghanistan in Tanzania (in Division Four). They are a good team, we know we are a good team, and it is all down to who performs the best on the day."
Papua New Guinea skipper Rarua Dikana took 5-14 as his side enjoyed a comprehensive six-wicket victory against Cayman Islands.
PNG reached their target of 122 with 29.1 overs to spare after the Caymans were bowled out for just 121.
Man-of-the-match Vani Morea hit 64 off just 51 balls to guide his team to victory.