Cricket Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Super Six hopes vanish – five-wicket loss to Nepal leaves them bottom of group B; Ehsan Khan’s bowling cleared

Babar Hayat’s team must now battle rivals from group A to preserve their World Cricket League division one status

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 March, 2018, 10:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 March, 2018, 11:03pm

Hong Kong failed to advance to the Super Six phase of the ICC World Cup qualifiers on Monday after going down by five wickets to Nepal in their final group B match.

Having already lost to Scotland and Zimbabwe, Hong Kong needed one more victory to go with their triumph over Afghanistan to finish in the top three and qualify for the next stage.

However, once again their batting let them down as they posted a total of 153 all out in 48.2 overs. The bowlers had Nepal in early trouble but their sixth wicket partnership took them to victory in 40.4 overs. Nepal’s win allowed Afghanistan to go through while Hong Kong finished bottom of the group.

The defeat also means Hong Kong must now go into a play-off round in an effort to preserve their one-day status and place in the top division of the World Cricket League. Only two teams from the Super Six stage will qualify for next year’s ICC World Cup.

Hong Kong had relied on Anshuman Rath to get them out of trouble in previous matches but this time he went for one run, with Nepal’s teen spin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane grabbing the wicket.

Nizakat Khan was Hong Kong’s best performer with the bat, scoring 47 while captain Babar Hayat hit 20 and Ehsan Khan 21.

Nizakat gave the Hong Kong innings a measure of stability after they were 58 for four in the 15th over but once he went in the 23rd over, they struggled to put decent partnerships together.

Lamichhane finished with three for 17 from his 10 overs – fantastic figures that only strengthens his reputation as a future star.

Aizaz Khan and Ehsan Khan grabbed two wickets apiece as Nepal stumbled to 66 for five in the 20th over but RK Paudel (48) and Sompal Kami (37) stayed together to take their side to victory. Nepal, however, also failed to reach the Super Six phase.

Earlier, Hong Kong’s highest wicket taker, spinner Ehsan Khan, had his bowling action cleared by the ICC. Ehsan’s action was reported by the match officials following his side’s game against Afghanistan. Footage viewed by officials of his next game against Zimbabwe showed that his action was legal, according to ICC’s Panel of Human Movement Specialists.

The ICC said in a statement: “Ehsan’s bowling action was filmed in the next match he played after being reported, which was against Zimbabwe on Saturday, and the video footage of his bowling spells were provided to the Event Panel of Helen Bayne and Mark King, who are both members of the ICC Panel of Human Movement Specialists, for analysis and assessment.

“The Event Panel concluded on Sunday that Ehsan Khan employs a legal bowling action, and, as such, he can continue bowling in international cricket.”