World Cup 2015 Qualifier January 19, 2014

Hong Kong, Scotland edge closer to Super Six

ESPNcricinfo staff

Irfan Ahmed's third successive fifty-plus score and his unbeaten 154-run opening stand with Waqas Barkat helped Hong Kong rout Nepal by ten wickets. The pair chased down the 151-run target in a little more than 33 overs to help Hong Kong move to the top of Group A and closer to the Super Six stage.

Hong Kong won the toss and opted to field, and their bowlers vindicated the decision, reducing Nepal to 38 for 5 in the 14th over. Three of the first five wickets to fall were claimed by pacer Haseeb Amjad, who also missed out on a hat-trick in the second over. Nepal's tottering innings received a minor boost from the tail-end batsmen, Basant Regmi and Sompal Kami, who added 57 runs for the ninth wicket. Kami was out for a 48-ball 26 which included four fours before Amjad struck for the fourth time to dismiss Regmi for 45 off 79 balls.

Hong Kong's openers then did the rest. Ahmed, enjoying a rich vein of form, followed up his century in the last game with an unbeaten 86 off 97 balls with eight fours and four sixes. At the other end, Barkat was unbeaten on 56 off 106 balls with seven fours.

An unbeaten hundred from opener Eric Szwarczynski and fifties from Wesley Barresi and Peter Borren set the foundation for Netherlands' 130-run win over Papua New Guinea. Chasing Netherland's steep score of 323 for 4, PNG folded for 193, the lone resistance offered by wicketkeeper Jack Vare who blitzed 96 off 59 balls.

Netherlands chose to bat and although Stephan Myburgh fell early, Szwarczynski stitched together big partnerships with the rest of the middle order to guide Netherlands to 323. Szwarczynski and Barresi shared a partnership of 116 runs for the second wicket, which was followed by a brisk 96-run third-wicket stand with Borren. Szwarczynski and Mudassar Bukhari then struck 58 runs in 51 balls to guide the Netherlands score past 300.

In response, PNG's top and middle order withered away and at 57 for 6, there was little chance of a comeback. A stubborn 72-run ninth-wicket stand between Vare and Willi Gavera delayed an inevitable defeat for PNG, dragging the team from 113 for 8 to 185 for 9. Five balls after Gavera fell, Vare was dismissed by Ahsan Malik as PNG ended at 193. Vare's lively 96 had seven fours and as many sixes.

A cluster of wickets in the middle overs restricted Uganda to 206 for 8, giving their opponents Kenya a 47-run win.

The Kenya bowlers kept Uganda's scoring rate in check throughout their chase of the 254-run target. The top-order led by Abram Mutyagaba, who scored 61 off 93 balls, shared good partnerships but Uganda lost four wickets in as many overs, stumbling from 112 for 2 to 138 for 6 in the 38th over. Uganda's tail-end batsmen, Richard Okia and Frank Nsubuga, added fifty runs for the eighth wicket, but couldn't push the scoring rate adequately to challenge Kenya.

Kenya's successful outing, after electing to bat, was built on fifties from Alex Obanda, Collins Obuya and Steve Tikolo. Obanda and Obuya shared a 112-run partnership for the third wicket to rescue Kenya from a difficult 35 for 2. Tikolo's 41-ball 55, which included four fours, provided the late flourish, helping Kenya score 253 for 5.

Boosted by a quick hundred from Calum Macleod and regular strikes from their bowlers, Scotland beat United Arab Emirates by 53 runs in a rain-curtailed game in Queenstown. The win also helped Scotland move closer to sealing a place in the Super Six stage.

The game was reduced to 28-overs-a-side but Scotland began belligerently as the opening pair of Matty Cross and Macleod added 178 runs in nearly 18 overs. Cross fell for a 60-ball 88, with 10 fours and three sixes, but Macleod did not relent, reaching his half-century off 30 balls. The next fifty was even quicker, needing only 24 balls as he smashed ten fours and four sixes. Scotland stumbled a little after Macleod was out for 113, but the opening stand did enough to help them put up 265 for 6.

UAE suffered early setbacks as their openers were dismissed by seamer Iain Wardlaw early on. A 74-run, third-wicket stand between Shaiman Anwar and Khurram Khan revived their hopes but the lack of partnerships hurt UAE. Khurram's dismissal for a 54-ball 87 paved way for two quick wickets and a struggling UAE were eventually out for 212. Wardlaw and offspinner Majid Haq picked up three wickets each, while Macleod claimed Khurram as one of his two wickets.