Ali and Khan keep HK World Cup hopes alive

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 September, 2009, 12:00am

A brilliant effort from fast bowlers Niaz Ali and Aizaz Khan propelled Hong Kong to a stunning eight-wicket win over Vanuatu to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the ICC Under-19 World Cup next year.

Ali and Khan grabbed five wickets each in a superb demolition job as Vanuatu were bowled out for 28 in just 10 overs - the lowest score at the nine-team tournament in Toronto.

Hong Kong reached their victory target in 8.3 overs and the huge margin of victory not only boosted their run-rate, but also put the Jamie Atkinson-led team in sight of securing the fifth and final spot for next year's World Cup in New Zealand.

Hong Kong play the US in their final match today. Uganda and the Netherlands - tied with Hong Kong on six points - also have a chance.

'The match against the United States will be a tough one for us,' said coach Aftab Habib. 'They are a good team and proved that by beating Ireland. But if we play like we played against Vanuatu, we can remain positive about qualifying.'

A dramatic finish on the penultimate day saw the tournament poised tantalisingly after Uganda defeated the Netherlands by two wickets. The Netherlands face Papua New Guinea in their final outing, while Uganda have completed their fixtures and will anxiously await the results of these two matches.

It could all boil down to run rates if Hong Kong and the Netherlands lose today. Hong Kong have the best run rate of all three contenders.