HK on brink of elimination
By Miranda Yeung
Hong Kong's hopes of advancing to the semi-finals of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Under-19 Elite Cup were virtually washed away as they were hammered by Malaysia in a rain-affected match last Thursday.
Hong Kong lost the toss and were asked to bat first by the hosts who won by seven wickets.
The match was reduced to 39 overs a side because of rain. Hong Kong were dismissed for 139 in 37.4 overs, and after another rain interruption, Malaysia had to get 93 from 23 overs. They reached their target in the 21st over for the loss of three wickets.
The tournament started on August 18 and ends on Wednesday. Hong Kong are facing a tough battle in Group B, which also includes Afghanistan, Kuwait, Malaysia and Qatar.
The SAR team were surprisingly beaten by two wickets by Qatar in their first game last Monday.
Qatar, considered one of the weaker teams in the group, beat their rivals in a last-ball thriller.
But Hong Kong managed to bounce back in their second outing last Tuesday. With players such as Robbie Bacon and John Bacon in excellent form, Hong Kong thrashed Kuwait by 138 runs.
If Hong Kong are to reach the semi-finals, they will have to beat high-flying Afghanistan - who they were due to meet last Friday - and hope for favourable results from other matches in their pool.
The Elite Cup is a qualifying tournament for the Under-19 World Cup 2008 to be played in Malaysia. The winner (or the next qualifier if Malaysia becomes the champion) will face the second-placed team in the Europe Region under-19 tournament. The winner of this game will qualify for the Under-19 World Cup 2008.
If Hong Kong finish bottom of their group at the Elite Cup, they will not only have an early flight home, but also face demotion from the ACC Elite group to the ACC Challenger group of the under-19 competition.
In that category, they will have to play the minnows of Asian cricket, such as China, Myanmar and Bhutan.