Hong Kong holds nerve, Scotland opens with win

68727Scotland, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea gave their ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 campaigns a boost with wins in the first round of warm-up games on a rain-hit Monday (July 6) morning.

Nepal and Oman, however, lost out on valuable match practice with their first warm-up match in Belfast washed out by persistent showers.

Put in to bat, Oman’s top order did well to post 115 for 4 in 16.3 overs before rain stopped play. Zeeshan Maqsood set up the innings with his 44 in 31 balls, while Vaibhav Wategaonkar’s 17-ball 23 also gave the scoreboard a lift. Nepal was set a revised target of 126 in 16 overs, but only three balls of the innings could be bowled before the match was eventually called off.

PNG and Kenya were similarly frustrated by breaks in play in Bready, but PNG found that it had done just enough at the start of its chase to win by 10 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Asked to bat, Kenya couldn’t quite get partnerships going. No batsman made more than 25 runs, and the innings ended at a reasonable 141 for 4 in 20 overs. Mahuru Dai and Assad Vala picked up two wickets each, while Norman Vanua, John Reva and Charles Amini chipped in with one apiece. PNG lost two wickets in the first five overs on its way to 45 runs, but with the clouds returning, that would prove to be enough for a win.

At the Grange Cricket Club Ground in Edinburgh, Scotland eased to a six-wicket win over Namibia with 22 balls remaining. Having chosen to bat, Namibia started strongly thanks to Stephen Baard (32 in 24 balls) but went on to lose wickets at regular intervals. It was only a 61-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Raymond van Schoor (42) and JP Kotze (21) that took it to 127 for 8.

Namibia would then have been buoyed to have Scotland on the mat at 37 for 3, but an unbeaten 66-run stand between Preston Mommsen (15) and Richie Berrington put paid to any hopes of a win. Berrington needed just 35 balls for his fluid 61, smashing four boundaries and as many sixes on the way. Earlier, Alasdair Evans, Gavin Main and Michael Leask did their bit, bagging two wickets each.

In the final game of the morning at Watson’s, Edinburgh, Irfan Ahmed was the star as Hong Kong came back well and held its nerve for a nine-run win over the Netherlands. With five overs to go, Netherlands was 85 for 5 needing 29 runs to win. However, it lost those last five wickets for just 19 runs, Irfan involved in four of the dismissals. Tanwir Afzal (3-21) had done most of the damage till then, getting rid of much of the top order cheaply. That Hong Kong could put up 113 in its 20 overs was thanks to Babar Hayat (42), who found support in Mark Chapman, the only other batsman in the side to cross 20.

The ICC World T20 Qualifier begins in Scotland and Ireland on July 9.