24 July 2015
PREVIEW: High-flying Hong Kong takes on well-rested Scotland
Both teams have momentum on their side and that should make for an enticing semi-final clash
Scotland players celebrate a wicket.
While Hong Kong will be coming off a five-wicket win in a thriller against Afghanistan in the first qualifying playoff, Scotland will return to action after a week away, having last played against Oman in Edinburgh where it picked up a 23-run win.
Having finished on top of the Group B table, Scotland qualified directly for the semi-final, while Hong Kong, which finished second in Group A, had to get past Afghanistan to seal the semi-final spot.
Hong Kong will take heart from the fact that most of its top and middle order came good in the chase against Afghanistan. However, the batsmen went about their work slightly slowly, and left it too late.
Hong Kong has been fairly consistent with the ball. Haseeb Amjad, the right-arm medium pacer, who has been opening the bowling with Tanwir Afzal, has led the way with 11 scalps from six games, while giving away just 6.84 runs per over. Amjad has been supported well by Irfan Ahmed, whose all-round contributions have stood Hong Kong in good stead. Irfan has nine wickets from six games to go with 174 runs from six innings that have come at a strike rate of 135.93 and includes a best of 98.
After a couple of low-scoring games, the batsmen have found their groove again as Hong Kong posted 197 for 8 against Namibia before following it up with the successful chase of 162 against Afghanistan in its last match.
Scotland, meanwhile, is riding high after three successive wins that include comfortable chases against Kenya and Canada before it ended an in-form Oman's winning streak.
While Preston Mommsen has led from the front with the bat, Kyle Coetzer, after a quiet start, has come good at the top of the order and Matthew Cross has impressed with his consistency. With the ball, Alasdair Evans has proved himself to be most reliable, with performances such as the 5 for 24 in a high-scoring game against the Netherlands.
Scotland has been getting solid starts from the opening duo – while it was Coetzer and George Munsey in the last game, Coetzer and Calum MacLeod did a fine job in the two games prior to that. It will once again hope that the opening combination clicks and gives it the impetus in the big game.
Form-wise, both teams are riding a wave of momentum and it should make for an enticing clash as both seek to go a step closer to winning the tournament and add to the high of having qualified for the main event.
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.
Scotland: Preston Mommsen (capt), Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer, Matthew Cross, Josh Davey, Con de Lange, Alasdair Evans, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Gavin Main, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Rob Taylor, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt.