ICC World Cricket League Division 3 - Darwin, Australia May 28, 2007

Hong Kong embarrassed by Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands' Franklyn Hinds accepts the Man of the Match Award from ICC Umpires Jeff Brooks and Hameed Shahul © HKCA
Much was riding on Hong Kong's second match at the World Cricket League Tournament in Darwin. Having lost their opening match against Uganda the previous day, Hong Kong faced a 'must win' game against Cayman Islands if they had any illusions of making the semi-finals stage of the tournament. Another loss would see them drop to the plate competition and with it, relegation to Division Four of the World Cricket League.

Before the start of the match, the two teams and umpires, Jeff Brooks (Australia) and Hameed Shahul (Indonesia), paid their respects to ICC President Percy Sonn, who passed away overnight, with a one minute silence. The players also wore black-arms during the match.

The match was played at Power Park, located in the satellite township of Palmerston, about 20 minutes drive from Darwin and home to the Palmerston Cricket Club. Conditions were again hot and humid, with a stiff breeze and occasional cloud cover giving some relief from the heat.

Hong Kong won the toss and elected to bat. A new opening partnership of Rahul Sharma and Mark Eames was tried but the experiment failed miserably as Rahul Sharma spooned the first ball of the match from Kenute Tulloch to extra cover. Courtney Kruger was promoted up the order but his elevation was short-lived as he edged Franklyn Hinds for 7.

After his performance against Uganda, Irfan Ahmed was given an opportunity up the order. He and Eames moved the score on to 24 before Eames played round a straight one from Tulloch and was bowled for 8. Further disaster followed when Hussain Butt offered no shot to an inswinging delivery from Franklyn Hinds and was clean bowled to make it 28-4. Irfan Ahmed struck five boundaries in his innings of 21 before edging Ronald Ebanks to Ryan Ebanks behind the stumps. Zain Abbas was trapped LBW for 3 and skipper Ilyas Gull was caught behind for 0 to give Hinds his third and fourth wickets respectively. Hong Kong was now in dire straits at 49 for 7 off just 17.2 overs.

Nasir Hameed and Najeeb Amar moved the score on to 65, when spinner Saheed Mohamed bowled Nasir for 14. The end came quickly as Nadeem Ahmed and Afzaal Haider fell quickly to the pace of Cayman's skipper Ryan Bovell. Hong Kong all out for 67 runs - Hong Kong's lowest score for at least 15 years, if not ever.

The Cayman Islands' openers, Steve Gordon and Ainsley Hall, both having scored unbeaten centuries in their opening match against Tanzania, were looking to finish things off quickly. But Irfan Ahmed had different plans and he trapped both players LBW to leave the West Indian team on 13 for 2 after four overs. Unfortunately his line was often wayward and he conceded 9 wides and one no-ball in his four over spell - too many when defending such a small total. The ball was thrown to the spinners, Najeeb Amar and Nadeem Ahmed, to conjure up a miracle but their introduction only served to bring about a speedy conclusion to the game. Najeeb was not able to exert the same control as he achieved against Uganda and his two overs cost 12 runs, whilst Nadeem Ahmed's three legitimate deliveries were thrashed for 16 runs.

It was all over well before lunch, with Cayman Islands winning by 8 wickets in just 9.3 overs.

Cayman Islands' opening bowler Franklyn Hinds was named Man of the Match.

[Full Scorecard: Hong Kong v. Cayman Islands]

Team manager, Ravi Nagdev, said after the match "We still have three more games to play. Hong Kong needs to show that these first two performances are not what Hong Kong cricket is all about."

A none-too-impressed Sameer Dighe, took the players through an intensive three hour training session to end the day.

The loss leaves Hong Kong with no chance of qualifying for the semi-final stage of the main competition. They still have one more match to play in the group stage of the competition, against Tanzania, and will have to play two further play-off games that will serve as ranking determinants for future tournaments.

Tomorrow is a reserve day for the teams but I'm sure there will be no rest for the Hong Kong players as they will not want to see a repeat of this performance against Tanzania.