Habib keeps lid on hopes after impressive show

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 October, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong have one foot in the door after an emphatic 129-run victory over Fiji put them on the verge of qualifying for the ICC World Cricket League division three tournament in Argentina in January.

'I don't want to think too far ahead,' said Hong Kong coach Aftab Habib after another convincing victory in the six-team division four tournament being played in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. 'We still have two more matches to play and anything can happen. But I'm very happy with the way we are playing.'

A quickfire 55 from Roy Lamsam and steady contributions from Hussain Butt (48) and Zain Abbas (47) allowed Hong Kong to coast to 233 for seven.

Abbas, who sat out the last game against Tanzania as he was recovering from an injured hand, won his second man-of-the-match award.

Fiji struggled against the left-arm spin of Najeeb Amar and Nadeem Ahmed and were bowled out for 104 in the 31st over. Najeeb finished with three for 21 off his 10 overs, while Nadeem took three for 28.

Hong Kong had previously beaten Italy by 44 runs and Tanzania by 134 runs. The two remaining games are against Afghanistan, who are also unbeaten, and Jersey.

Skipper Tabarak Dar was confident his side could seal their berth to Argentina when they take on Afghanistan in their next game. 'We have the upper hand against them, having beaten them the last time we played,' Dar said. 'But it will be a tough game as they are a good all-round side like us.'

The top two teams in Dar-es-Salaam will join the Cayman Islands, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and hosts Argentina in the ICC WCL division three. The top two teams in Buenos Aires will play in the final qualifying tournament for the 2011 World Cup.