World Cup 2015 Qualifiers January 17, 2014

Irfan ton helps HK crush Canada

ESPNcricinfo staff

Opening batsman Irfan Ahmed scored his maiden List-A century to help Hong Kong crush Canada by nine wickets in an ICC World Cup Qualifier Group A match in Rangiora. Chasing 172, Hong Kong lost opener Mark Wright in the second over but that ended up being the only strike Canada were able to make. Irfan and Jamie Atkinson, the Hong Kong captain, then scored the remaining runs at a brisk pace and overhauled the target in the 26th over. Irfan remained unbeaten on 100 that came off 85 deliveries and included 14 fours and two sixes while Atkinson scored a run-a-ball 63.

"I feel great, it was a good opportunity for me," Irfan said. "It was a good wicket to bat on. The runs were coming easily as they were pitching the ball up and I just kept hitting. I took my time to start with, but once I was in I just kept playing my shots."

Irfan's innings earned praise from his captain too. Atkinson said, "I was happy to play second fiddle today. I had the best seat in the house to watch Irfan's hundred - it was sensational."

Looking for their first win, Canada opted to bat after winning the toss and were given a solid start by their openers. But both batsmen - Nitish Kumar, who scored 28, and Ruvindu Gunasekera - were dismissed within the space of four balls. The Hong Kong bowlers then took control and didn't allow Canada batsmen to settle, picking up wickets at regular intervals. Four batsmen made it to the 20s, but the highest anyone got to was 29 by Trevim Bastiampillai. Canada were bowled out for 171 in 48 overs with Haseeb Amjad being the pick of the bowlers with three wickets while Tanwir Afzal returned with remarkable figures of 10-5-11-1.

"We just didn't perform with the bat or in the field," Jimmy Hansra said. "I think it was a 250 wicket, and we needed a really good performance to defend 171. But unfortunately we lacked discipline in the field."

A late cameo by JJ Smit provided Namibia the push to overhaul Kenya's total in Mount Maunganui and register their second straight win in the competition. Namibia were seven down for 144, still 43 short of the target, when Smit arrived at the crease. He added a crucial 29 runs for the eighth wicket Jaen Kotze, then added a further 14 for the ninth wicket to help the team cross the line with seven balls to spare. He was unbeaten on 33 off 25 balls.

The chase, for most part, had been steered by a composed 97-ball 45 by Sarel Burger and his dismissal in the 43rd over gave Kenya an opening, but Smit ensured Kenya remained winless. Burger, the Namibia captain, praised Smit's effort and said, "He's showing great composure, I think he's bowling out of his boots at the moment and obviously kept it all together there at the end."

Smit had been menacing with the ball as well, picking up three wickets for 23 runs in his 10 overs. He dismissed opener Irfan Karim in his second over, then came back to pick up the big wicket of Kenya's top-scorer Steve Tikolo and Ragheb Aga. For Kenya, apart from two half-century stands - 53 between Morris Ouma and Tikolo, and 63 for the seventh wicket between Rakep Patel and Hiren Varaiya - there weren't many significant contributions. It was Kenya's second straight loss in the tournament.

"I am very disappointed because that was our second match and we lost," Rakep said. "We thought if we could have won that game we could have had chances to go to the Super Six stage. Now we have to win both the remaining games.

"The batting has been clicking well. If you see the conditions, it was a little bit difficult and we scored 180. I thought it was a defendable score but just that the catches - we just didn't take them and it cost us."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David Anthony on January 19, 2014, 15:24 GMT

    CANADA IS ICE COUNTRY- not Cricket country. This place is for people who want a better life for their family and who run away from their homeland because of political persecution/starvation etc. They barely get 6 weeks of warm in hell will they be able to play cricket! Just work and home and forget about cricket. This is |ICE Country for Hockey and Skiing and thats it!

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2014, 20:53 GMT

    Cricket Canada gets wacked again!! LOL!!!

  • sam on January 18, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    I would blame ICC for their mistreatment to North American & South American teams/associates. Look what happened to Bermuda where the cricket really raised its profile when Bermuda had the status. Look what has happened to North America where the first International Cricket game was played. The bad luck for this region is that we had west Indians, Caribbean where cricket is famous. Unfortunately, due to the weak board, and their administration they couldn't help the small guys around them (Canada, U.S, Bermuda and others). If you don't play competitive cricket, then your skill sets will remain their forever and you wont be able to compete at a higher level. The reason Afghanistan, Ireland, or even Scotland have performed well is because they have a solid support from Pakistan, England. If we see the rise of U.A.E and Hong Kong. The reason for that is they have imported players from Pakistan, and India which Canada and U.S didn't consider in doing that.

  • Jay on January 18, 2014, 3:31 GMT

    Oh Canada, my beloved ! Please stick to hockey cause that's our pride. Cricket is NOT our game. It's meant for Brits and some of their ex-colonies with deeper roots within the game. We are proud North Americans; we got baseball, basketball, football (not soccer) and our national sport - ice hockey. This is embarrassing. A few years back we would have beaten HK without breaking a sweat. The biggest heartbreak is Kenya. Hard to believe they were world cup semifinalists in 2003.

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2014, 2:45 GMT

    A bit early but imagine if we get 4 new ODI teams after this tournament and NET, SCO, KEN, CAN all miss out. ICC might have to expand the number of teams with ODI status

  • ESPN on January 17, 2014, 15:39 GMT

    Great knock buddy. Player of series award waiting for u. Let do it buddy

  • Dummy4 on January 17, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    Very disappointed to see Kenya struggling, they don't seem to be able to decide what their best XI is, and then the correct batting order, even at this stage. Karim, Ouma+, Obuya, Tikolo, Patel*, Odoyo, Obanda, Onyango, Varaiya, Nehemiah Odhiambo and Shem Ngoche would be my choice. They really needed to work out the problems between the board and Tanmay Mishra as well, they're really missing his runs in the middle order. At this rate they're not even going to keep their ODI status by finishing in the top 4, never mind qualifying for the 2015 World Cup. Sad times in Kenyan cricket.

  • Jaggi on January 17, 2014, 10:40 GMT

    common Canada... u guys are destroying lots of youngster's future in Canada Cricket. It's not T-20 that u can defend 171 in 50 overs. So common guys WAKE UP.

  • Scott on January 17, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    These results have effectively turned the Canada v Scotland and Kenya v Netherlands into playoffs for the Super 6. It's also virtually assured UAE, PNG, Namibia and Hong Kong passage into the Super 6's.

    The question now needs to be asked - what will happen to the World Cricket League and Intercontinental Cup if, as expected, Canada and Kenya fail to qualify for the Super 6's? Will we see PNG and HK elevated to these comps?

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