Hong Kong claim prize scalp of Canada at World Cup qualifiers
Irfan Ahmed and Jamie Atkinson blasted Hong Kong to a comprehensive nine-wicket victory over Canada in the ICC World Cup qualifiers in Rangiora, New Zealand, on Friday.
Irfan scored his first century at this level, reaching 100, and shared a second-wicket partnership of 166 with skipper Atkinson (66 not out) as Hong Kong overhauled a modest 171 total with 25 overs to spare.
Man of the match Irfan said: "I felt great. It was a good opportunity for me and a good wicket to bat on. The runs were coming easily as they were pitching the ball up and I just kept hitting. I took my time to start with, but once I was in I just kept playing my shots."
A delighted player-caoch Mark Wright said: “To beat an ODI country with almost 25 overs remaining is a superb feat. Irfan and Jamie batted beautifully after our bowlers had set the platform for victory with a disciplined effort.” .
Canada, who played in the last 2011 World Cup held on the sub-continent, were overwhelmed by Hong Kong’s mix of pace and spin. Tanwir Afzal set the tone when he bowled his 10 overs unchanged to finish with one for 11. Fellow paceman Aizaz Khan chipped in with two wickets as did Waqas Barkat. Haseeb Amjad mopped up the tail to finish with three for 42.
“Two out of two and it is certainly getting better. I hope the boys are enjoying themselves, too,” said happy Hong Kong Cricket Association chairman Mike Walsh.
Hong Kong defeated Scotland by 17 runs in their opening pool game and remain unbeaten in the preliminary round. Their next game is against Nepal on Sunday with the United Arab Emirates being their final opponents.
The first target for Hong Kong is to finish in the top three in the pool and qualify for the Super Sixes.
The top two teams from this 10-team competition will join Afghanistan and Ireland as the associate countries at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.