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13 July 201500:22

PREVIEW: Winless Hong Kong runs into PNG

Namibia targets first win against USA, Ireland takes on Nepal in battle of unbeaten teams

PREVIEW: Winless Hong Kong runs into PNG - Cricket News

Nepal paced its chase well against USA, with Gyanendra Malla’s half-century paving the way.

Hong Kong v PNG

Following contrasting starts to their campaigns, Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong will take on each other in a Group A clash at Bready Cricket Club in Bready on Monday (July 13).

Hong Kong suffered a defeat at the hands of tournament underdogs Jersey. After putting up a total of 153 for 6, Hong Kong was caught off guard by Jersey’s openers. Aside from Tanwir Afzal and Irfan Ahmed, the other bowlers went for plenty of runs. Left-arm spinner Anas Khan, fresh from an impressive performance in the warm-up game, was given only one over after going for 14 runs.

Hong Kong may bring in a different spin option against PNG, with even left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed going for 25 runs in two overs. A few misfields allowed Jersey some easy boundaries, and Hong Kong will be eager to prove it was just an anomaly with an improved performance against Papua New Guinea.

It didn't help Hong Kong's cause that it was asked to bat after a 20-minute delay due to rain. Hong Kong reached 82 for 2 after 12.2 overs and would have fancied a big flourish at the end, but it could only squeeze 22 off the last three overs.

PNG, meanwhile, had a comparatively easier time in its opening game against Jersey. PNG openers Tony Ura and Lega Siaka put up a stand of 44 off 28 balls, which set the platform for the rest of the innings. Although there was no show-stealing performance from any one batsman, everyone chipped in to get PNG to a total of 145 for 9.

PNG’s bowlers did the rest from there. After keeping things quiet in the first half, the bowlers took eight wickets in the last ten overs to seal a 24-run win. Nathan Vanua was the pick of the lot with figures of 3 for 19. PNG can be expected to field the same side in the next game, while Hong Kong might have to make a few changes in a bid for its first win.

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.
Papua New Guinea: Jack Vare (captain), Charles Amini, Sese Bau, John Boge Reva, Mahuru Dai, Willie Gavera, Loa Nou, Kila Pala, Pipi Raho, Lega Siaka, Chad Soper, Tony Ura, Vani Vagi, Assadollah Vala, Norman Vanua.

Namibia v USA
The tussle between Namibia and USA in their Group A match at Civil Service Cricket Club in Belfast on Monday (July 13) is quite an intriguing one as both teams have yet to taste victory.

Namibia hasn’t had the best of starts to its campaign. Facing a strong Ireland in its opening game, Namibia kept losing wickets regularly and couldn’t build any partnerships, save for a 32-run seventh-wicket partnership between captain Nicolaas Scholtz and bowler JJ Smit.

On the field, Namibia missed three opportunities to dismiss William Porterfield and Niall O’Brien, and a 71-run partnership ensued. With a small total of 124 to defend, pacers Jason Davidson and Sarel Burger impressed with figures of 1 for 16 and 1 for 13 respectively in three overs each.

With showers forecast in Belfast on Monday, Namibia will want to avoid sharing points once again, after its second match against Nepal was washed out on Saturday. Stephan Baard gave Namibia a much better start with a 26-ball 39, helping it reach 61 for 1 after 7.4 overs when the match was abandoned. Namibia will most likely field the same XI against USA.

USA hasn’t fared much better with two losses, albeit against heavyweights Nepal and Ireland. In USA’s opening game, only openers Fahad Babar and Akeem Dodson could get starts, scoring 23 and 39 respectively before the middle order succumbed to spin. Defending a small total of 121, the bowlers couldn’t do much, but the silver lining was that they dragged Nepal’s chase all the way to the last over.

In its more recent game on Sunday, the bowlers restricted Ireland to a total of 146 for 6, with legspinner Timil Patel impressing in particular with figures of 3 for 13. However, John Mooney’s 20 off seven deliveries shifted the momentum towards Ireland.

USA's chase though didn't go according to plan. During the 13th over, USA lost three wickets in five deliveries as it slipped to 81 for 8. Bringing in debutants Alex Amsterdam and Nicholas Standford hasn’t quite clicked and USA might want to go with more experienced heads in its encounter against Namibia.

Namibia: Nicholas Scholtz (captain), Stephen Baard, Sarel Burger, Christopher Coombe, Jason Davidson, Michiel du Preez*, Gerhard Erasmus, Louis Klazinga, JP Kotze, Bernard Scholtz, JJ Smit, Christiaan Snyman, Gerrie Snyman, Raymond van Schoor, Craig Williams.
USA: Muhammad Ghous (captain), Alex Amsterdam, Fahad Babar, Adil Bhatti, Akeem Dodson, Karan Ganesh, Naseer Jamali, Japen Patel, Mrunal Patel, Timil Patel, Hammad Shahid, Jasdeep Singh, Nicholas Stanford, Timothy Surujbally, Shiva Vashishat.

Ireland v Nepal
Ireland and Nepal have a chance to take the top spot in Group A as they face off at Civil Service Cricket Club in Belfast on Monday (July 13).

John Mooney has played a crucial role in both of Ireland’s wins thus far, and no doubt would love to take that tally to three. On Friday, he took 3 for 23 to reduce Namibia to 46 for 3 by the end of the seventh over. George Dockrell and Paul Stirling then kept things quiet in the middle overs, conceding just 35 runs in eight overs.

Ireland chased down the target of 125 with ease, with captain William Porterfield leading with an unbeaten half-century and a 71-run stand with opener Niall O’Brien.

Mooney then came good against USA with an unbeaten 7-ball 20 to steer Ireland to 146 for 6 and followed it up with 2 for 17 to help the side win by 46 runs. The games weren't without the odd hiccup though, and Ireland would hope to produce a top-drawer performance against Nepal.

However, the threat of rain looms, with weather forecasts predicting showers on Monday. Nepal would hope to avoid facing another washed-out game, after having to share points with Namibia at the same venue on Saturday. Although Nepal only managed to take one wicket in the 7.4 overs that were bowled -- with captain Paras Khadka the only bowler to concede less than eight an over -- it would have backed itself to bag those two points.

Earlier in the tournament, Nepal put up an impressive bowling performance to bowl out USA for 121 on July 10. After an expensive first four overs, Nepal’s bowlers came back to rein in USA’s batsmen. Left-arm spinner Shakti Gauchan impressed the most with 3 for 16 and was assisted from the other end by Basant Regmi, who also took three wickets. The spinning duo could pose some problems for Ireland’s batsmen in the middle overs.

Nepal paced its chase well against USA, with Gyanendra Malla’s half-century paving the way. Chasing a small total, opener Anil Mandal could easily afford to play an anchor role with a 42-ball 29, but Nepal’s batsmen can expect to be tested more by Ireland’s pacers.

Nepal: Paras Khadka (captain), Pradeep Airee, Binod Bhandari, Shakti Gauchan, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Subash Khakurel, Siddhant Lohani, Gyanendra Malla, Anil Mandal, Jitendra Mukhiya, Rajesh Pulami, Sagar Pun, Basant Regmi, Sharad Vesawkar.

Ireland: William Porterfield (captain), 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.