One-run loss leaves HK on the brink

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 January, 2009, 12:00am

An agonising one-run loss to Uganda has put Hong Kong's 2011 World Cup ambitions in the hands of others as the ICC World Cricket League Division Three tournament draws to a close in Argentina.

The defeat means Hong Kong will have to convincingly win their last game today against Papua New Guinea - and pray that frontrunners Afghanistan and Uganda lose their final games against the Cayman Islands and Argentina respectively.

It could all have been so different if Hong Kong's batsmen had been able to hold their nerve chasing 181 to win against Uganda. Needing just 21 runs, with five wickets in hand and 27 balls remaining, Hong Kong looked all set for victory, after an 84-run third-wicket partnership from Hussain Butt (52) and Manoj Cheruparambil (51) had helped them recover from the loss of two early wickets.

But inspired bowling from Kenneth Kamyuka and Ronald Ssemanda put paid to those hopes. With just three runs required for victory in the final over, Ssemanda first dismissed Zain Abbas (35) before Jamie Atkinson was trapped lbw with Hong Kong one run short of their target.

'To be honest we were cruising to victory, and then all of a sudden we lost five wickets for 19 runs. We weren't quite good enough, but I'm proud of the guys and the amount of effort they put in,' said coach Aftab Habib (pictured).

'There was pressure through the whole of the game and the boys felt a bit hard done by in the end. We will now have to win well against Papua New Guinea and hope that either Afghanistan or Uganda lose.'

If this happens, the two teams who advance to the final qualifying round for the 2011 World Cup will be decided on net run rate.

But the chances are slim as Cayman Islands and Argentina are the two weakest teams in the tournament.