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Hong Kong romped to an impressively comprehensive eight-wicket win over Afghanistan in the final of the ACC Under-19 Elite Cup to book a spot at the next U-19 World Cup.
It brought Afghanistan cricket back down to earth after all the success for both the senior and U-19 side in recent weeks. They were supported by a vocal crowd, but Hong Kong proved too efficient in all areas of the game as they comfortably chased down 216 with three overs to spare.
James Atkinson, the captain, crunched 94 from 114 balls while Nizakat Khan made an unbeaten 46. Shakeel Haq also played his part with 51 to ensure a potentially testing target was passed with ease in a tournament where the scoring has been on the low side. Atkinson led from the front before falling 36 runs from victory and his innings earned the Man-of-the-Match award.
Afghanistan had been put on the back foot early as they slumped to 21 for 4 in the seventh over and did exceptionally well to reach 215. Asghar Hotak (70) and Zard Ali (68) held the middle order together to keep them in the contest, but there was to be no fairytale finish this time.
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Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.