Unbeaten 154-run stand between Ahmed and Barkat leads Hong Kong to 10-wicket win over Nepal
Netherlands beats Group B leader PNG, Kenya overcomes Uganda
Free images from Kenya-Uganda and Hong Kong-Nepal matches will be available for download and editorial use; please credit 2014 © IDI/Getty Images
An unbeaten partnership of 154 between Irfan Ahmed and Waqas Barkat has led Hong Kong to a 10 wicket victory over Nepal, its third successive victory at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014 (CWCQ), at Rangiora Oval, Christchurch on Sunday.
In other games, Scotland defeated the number one ranked side, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), by 53 runs, Netherlands overwhelmed Papua New Guinea (PNG) by 130 runs, and Kenya defeated Uganda by 47 runs.
At Rangiora Oval, Ahmed (86 not out) and Barkat (56 not out) combined to surpass the modest Nepal total of 150 with 16.4 overs to spare as Ahmed, the highest run-getter to date in the tournament (261 runs), struck eight fours and four sixes to lead the side to victory without the loss of a wicket, reaching 154 in 33.2 overs.
Earlier, the Hong Kong bowling attack had stifled the Nepal batsmen, dismissing the line-up for 150 in the final over.
Nepal lost four early wickets to be struggling at 17 for four inside six overs, before captain Paras Khadka’s patient knock added 29 runs. However, wickets continued to fall regularly without any big scores being added. Basant Regmi initiated a tail-end fight back, top-scoring with 45 runs, while Sompal Kami added 26. Regmi was the last wicket to fall, the fourth victim of Haseeb Amjad, who claimed four wickets for 40 to become the outright leading wicket-taker of the tournament (10 wickets).
Hong Kong captain Jamie Atkinson was thrilled with another strong performance, which sees his side move to top spot in the Group A table. “Winning is a habit, and with three wins from three - we couldn’t have asked for a better start.”
“The two openers did a brilliant job today. The team is really enjoying their cricket, confidence is high and we just need to keep our consistency up,” he said.
Nepal captain Paras Khadka was disappointed after his side’s third straight loss. “We’ve worked very hard to make it this far, but unfortunately at this tournament things haven’t fallen into place for us.”
The skipper hopes for a better performance from his team in the final group match against Canada. “The tournament’s still not over for us. We still need to push for that highest position possible, so that we stay as highly ranked as possible.”
At Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown, a blistering all-round performance from Calum MacLeod saw Scotland defeat the top-ranked side, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), by 53 runs.
In a match in which almost 500 runs were scored despite rain cutting the match down to a 28-over per side affair , the 25-year-old stroked an electric 113 from only 62 balls to help Scotland post a total of 265 for six, before claiming two wickets to see his side home by 53 runs.
After rain delayed the start of play, man of the match MacLeod put on a 178 run partnership with Matthew Cross (88 from 60 balls) for the first wicket, with the pair striking 22 boundaries and seven sixes to set the run rate just under 10.
The UAE run chase was steered by captain Khurram Khan, whose knock of 87 came off 54 balls, and Shaiman Anwar, who scored 36 from only 21 deliveries. However, the side lost wickets regularly, and, in the end, UAE was all out for 212 in the 27th over, with the side losing its first match of the tournament by 53 runs.
MacLeod said that the day was a special day for the side. “Crossy and I just both played our shots, and everything we tried come off today. We had a bit of luck at times, hitting the ball just over the fielders – but that’s going to happen in an innings like that.”
“The team is ecstatic. We wanted a good victory to stamp our mark on the tournament. If we can keep playing similar cricket to that, we’ll do well,” he said.
In a Group B clash at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, an unbeaten century from opener Eric Szwarczynski has seen Netherlands record a resounding 130 run victory over previously-undefeated Papua New Guinea (PNG).
After electing to bat, Netherlands very quickly made its intentions clear, with Eric Szwarczynski (129 not out) striking 16 boundaries and one six on his way to the highest individual total of the tournament. Opener Stephan Myburgh (26) added quick runs, before half centuries from Wesley Barresi (56) and Peter Borren (65 from 35 balls) saw the side reach an imposing total of 323 for the loss of four wickets.
Willie Gavera was the pick of the PNG bowlers, taking two for 49.
In reply, Jack Vare struck a blistering 59-ball 96, including seven sixes in a losing cause, and when he was bowled by Ahsan Malik in the 38th over, PNG was all out for 193 runs.
Mudassar Bukhari (3-15) and Pieter Seelaar (2-51) were the leading wicket takers for Netherlands.
Netherlands captain Borren paid tribute to Szwarczynski’s efforts. “It was a crucial knock, and the rest of us batted around Eric. He batted beautifully – he is a classy player.”
The skipper was pleased with his side’s improvement during the tournament. “We didn’t bat at all well in our last game, so we had a tough few days reflecting on that performance ahead of today’s match. To turn it around was great – but we need to find more consistency.”
With one match left in the group stage, Borren said the team is focussed on performing well. “We’ve got a massive game next up against Kenya. But we’ve got a good record against them, and hopefully we can win and make it through to the Super Six.”
In the second Group B clash of the day, Kenya recorded its first victory of the tournament, defeating regional rival Uganda by 47 runs at Bay Oval 2, Mount Maunganui.
An all-round team performance saw Kenya post its highest total of the tournament of 253 for five, with opener Alex Obanda (80) and Collins Obuya (71) putting on a 112-run stand for the third wicket, while veteran Steve Tikolo added 55 from 42 balls.
Patrick Ochan took two wickets for Uganda.
The Uganda run chase started slowly but effectively, with opener Abram Mutyagaba (61) leading the way. However, once Mutyagaba was run out in the 34th over, Uganda lost wickets regularly, and the side reached 206 for the loss of eight wickets from its 50 overs.
Nelson Odhiambo took two wickets for 46, while man of the match Tikolo picked one wicket to complement his effort with the bat.
Tikolo believed that his performance was a reflection of his team. “It was a big win for us, after two big disappointments in the first two games. It’s good to see the boys bouncing back, and hopefully we can finish off the next game against the Netherlands and see where we end up in the table.”
Kenya captain Rakep Patel was pleased to get a win on the board. “We wanted a win under our belt, and we can hope for the best for the next games. Hopefully the results will be on our side too.
“The batting has been clicking, and we have been scoring around 250 runs in the last five games we’ve played. The bowling has been letting us down, so I hope in the next games the bowling stands up and the batting can be maintained,” he said.
Looking forward to his side’s final encounter of the group stage, an ODI against Netherlands at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln, the skipper said: “It’s finals for us, because if we don’t win, we don’t have a chance to go through to the Super Six stage. We can just do the basics right, apply our skills properly, and hopefully the results will be on our side.”
Uganda skipper Davis Karashani Arinaitwe was philosophical about the result. “Today I thought we played much better, today I think we played to about 70 per cent of our abilities. We showed that if we do actually play well we can be very competitive and that we deserve to be at this level. Going forward, I hope the guys can only move their performances in one direction, which is going up.”
Scores in brief:
At Bay Oval 2, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, North Island
Kenya 253 for five, 50 overs (Alex Obanda 80, Collins Obuya 71, Steve Tikolo 55; Patrick Ochan 2-56)
Uganda 206 for eight, 50 overs (Abram Mutyagaba 61, Frank Nsubuga 32 not out, Phillimon Mukobe 32; Nelson Odhiambo 2-46)
Result: Kenya won by 47 runs
Man of the Match: Steve Tikolo (Kenya)
At Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, North Island
Netherlands 323 for four, 50 overs (Eric Szwarczynski 129 not out, Peter Borren 65, Wesley Barresi 56; Willie Gavera 2-49)
PNG 193 all out, 37.2 overs (Jack Vare 96; Mudassar Bukhari 3-15, Pieter Seelaar 2-51)
Result: Netherlands won by 130 runs
Man of the Match: Eric Szwarczynski (Netherlands)
At Rangiora Oval, Christchurch, South Island
Nepal 150 all out, 49.3 overs (Basant Regmi 45; Haseeb Amjad 4-40, Aizaz Khan 2-28, Irfan Ahmed 2-29)
Hong Kong 154 for none, 33.2 overs (Irfan Ahmed 86 not out, Waqas Barkat 56 not out)
Result: Hong Kong won by 10 wickets
Man of the Match: Irfan Ahmed (Hong Kong)
At Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown, South Island
Scotland 265 for six from 28 overs (reduced overs) (Calum MacLeod 113, Matthew Cross 88; Mohammad Naveed 3-44, Rohan Mustafa 3-45)
UAE 212 all out, 26.5 overs (Khurram Khan 88, Swapnil Patil 41, Shaiman Anwar 36; Iain Wardlaw 3-36, Calum MacLeod 3-37, Majid Haq 2-42)
Result: Scotland won by 53 runs
Man of the Match: Calum MacLeod (UAE)
Schedule for upcoming days (matches start at 1030 local time)
Tuesday, 21 January
Namibia v Uganda, Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, North Island
Canada v Nepal, Hagley Oval, Christchurch, South Island
Thursday 23 January
PNG v Namibia, Bay Oval 2, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, North Island
Scotland v Canada, Hagley Oval, Christchurch, South Island*
The Netherlands v Kenya, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln, South Island*
UAE v Hong Kong, Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown, South Island
* Monday, 20 January and Wednesday, 22 January are reserve days