25 July 2015
PREVIEW: Ireland, Hong Kong look for consolation win
Ireland's consistency one of the hallmarks of the tournament, while Hong Kong's rise has been equally impressive
This is the last match in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier for both the sides, and it provides them with the perfect chance to wrap things up on a high.
Instead, on Sunday (July 25), it will fight it out for a chance to finish third in the tournament when it takes on Hong Kong in a third-place playoff in Dublin.
Despite Papua New Guinea snapping its 21-game winning streak in the tournament, Ireland finished on top of Group A to secure a direct spot in the ICC World Twenty20 2016 and set up a semi-final fight against Netherlands, who made it to the last-four stage after defeating Namibia in the second Qualifying Play-off tie earlier in the week.
Against Netherlands, notwithstanding Kevin O’Brien’s all-round effort, Ireland fell short as it suffered a five-wicket loss with 11 balls to spare. But all is not lost for the side. Led by William Porterfield, Ireland has once again fielded an exceptional side this year with the likes of Paul Stirling, Kevin O’Brien and Andy Balbirnie coming good from time to time. Porterfield has been Ireland’s top scorer this time around with 190 runs from seven games.
Its bowling too has been top notch with Alex Cusack, Craig Young, John Mooney and George Dockrell bearing the bulk of the load. Mooney has been the pick of the bowlers for Ireland with 14 scalps from seven ties. The medium pacer also currently leads the wickets tally in the tournament.
Hong Kong’s rise to the semi-final was far more dramatic. After finishing second in Group A, Hong Kong pulled off a stunning win over Afghanistan in the first Qualifying Play-off to book a berth in the ICC World 2016.
The ultimate goal was achieved, but Hong Kong could have raised its profile even more had it moved to the final. That dream, however, was cut short after Scotland, the Group B table-toppers, notched a five-wicket win in the first semi-final of the day.
Hong Kong might be rueing its chances, but it will hope to put behind the narrow loss and and focus on Ireland. The side will once again look to Irfan Ahmed to deliver. The allrounder has 185 runs and 11 wickets from seven outings.
Hong Kong also has the services of Mark Chapman and Nizakat Khan with the bat, while Haseeb Amjad, with 12 wickets so far, has been the spearhead with the ball.
This is the last match in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier for both the sides, and it provides them with the perfect chance to wrap things up on a high before gearing up for the India sojourn in March.
Ireland: William Porterfield (capt), Andrew Balbirnie, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Tyrone Kane, Andrew McBrine, Graeme McCarter, John Mooney, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Stuart Poynter, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.
Hong Kong: Tanwir Afzal (captain), Irfan Ahmed, Nadeem Ahmed, Haseeb Amjad, Jamie Atkinson, Waqas Barkat, Mark Chapman, Aizaz Khan, Anas Khan, Nizakat Khan, Giacomo Lamplough, Ehsan Nawaz, Babar Hayat, Anshuman Rath, Kinchit Shah.