Hong Kong show class too late with Danish pasting
The party might be over, but Hong Kong showed they deserved to be invited as they beat Denmark by 35 runs at the ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers yesterday.
Hong Kong rediscovered their winning touch thanks to a solid knock from opener Irfan Ahmed and some unexpected bowling heroics from off-spinner Kinchit Shah. But it came too late as they are already out of the picture, sitting bottom of their eight-team pool, having won only two of five matches.
Only the top three from each pool will be in contention for the knockout phase of the competition which will fill two berths at the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September. Hong Kong's remaining two pool games are against top seeds Afghanistan and the Netherlands.
Hong Kong's head coach, Charlie Burke, said: ''Realistically, we are out of it but it is still nice to see the guys get everything right today. We have lacked consistency, but our batting, bowling and fielding all came good and we showed we can be a competitive side when that happens.'
Irfan smacked his second half-century of the tournament, an unbeaten 91 off 60 deliveries, including two sixes and 10 boundaries.
Fellow opener Babar Hayat was out for 28 in the 10th over with the total on 76, but skipper Jamie Atkinson continued his fine run, scoring a quick 31 as Hong Kong reached 125 before he was dismissed. But with Irfan maintaining the tempo, Hong Kong finished on 170 for five, their highest score in the tournament.
'It was a terrific knock from Irfan. Our top three batsmen gave a chance early in their innings, but sometimes you need a little bit of luck and it went our way today,' Burke said.
Shah, who was drafted in minutes before the game began after the medium-pacer Asif Khan was injured in practice, grabbed his opportunity with four for 21. It tore the heart out of the Danish innings, and they limped to 135 for nine.
'He bowled very well, just targeting the stumps,' Burke said. 'It is pity this has come so late in the tournament. We can only hope we win our last two games comprehensively and hope all the other results go our way to reach the last three.'
It will be tough, however, with the unbeaten Afghanistan and the Netherlands, who have lost only one game (to Afghanistan), looking too good.