Hong Kong face uphill task after defeat to Kenya
Team fall victim to Duckworth/Lewis method and must win final two games to keep their World Cup hopes alive
Hong Kong suffered an agonising setback, going down on the Duckworth/Lewis method to Kenya in the first of their three games in the Super Sixes at the ICC World Cup qualifiers in New Zealand on Sunday.
The 10-run loss at Christchurch means Hong Kong must win the remaining two matches against Namibia on Tuesday and Papua New Guinea on Thursday to keep alive a slim chance of finishing in the top two and qualifying for the 2015 World Cup.
Put into bat, Hong Kong struggled to 254 for eight, which proved 20 to 30 runs short of a challenging score. Kenya were 223 for four in the 47th over when rain halted play. They were ahead by 10 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method and declared winners.
"It is a shame the rain spoiled what would have been a very close finish," said Hong Kong coach Mark Wright. "It was in the balance, probably a bit in their favour, but who knows if we had been able to pick up a wicket or two what might have happened."
United Arab Emirates defeated PNG to move top of the Super Sixes table and are in pole position on four points with Scotland set to join them. Scotland's game against Namibia was halted owing to rain and will resume on Monday - Namibia hadn't bowled the requisite 20 overs needed to comprise a match - with the Scots on top defending a total of 279.
The failure of opener Irfan Ahmed for the second successive match - dismissed in the first over without scoring - seems to coincide with Hong Kong's dip in fortunes after winning their first three pool games.
But skipper Jamie Atkinson picked up the slack and top-scored with a feisty 85. He was run out in the 37th over with the score on 156 for four.
"Jamie played a captain's knock and was unfortunate to be run out. But he pulled us back," Wright said.
Kenya's run chase - helped by three dropped catches - was led by in-form opener Irfan Karim, who had hit two centuries and a 50 in the pool games. Karim stroked a fine 82 and together with Morris Ouma (69 not out) had Kenya in the box seat.