World Cricket League Division 3 January 26, 2011

Hong Kong sneak home in thriller

ESPNcricinfo staff

Papua New Guinea maintained their unbeaten record in the tournament with a comprehensive nine-wicket win over Denmark at the Kowloon Cricket Club. Denmark won the toss and batted, but were in strife right from the start as each of their top six batsmen failed to get into double figures. Loa Nou, Hitolo Areni and Chris Amini shared two wickets apiece as the Denmark batsmen failed to cope with their seam bowling and were reeling at 33 for 6. Denmark's lower order showed some fight: Martin Pedersen made 17, and Bobby Chawla and Aftab Ahmed added 55 runs for the ninth wicket to take Denmark past 100. Ahmed was unbeaten on 39 as Denmark were bowled out for a paltry 112 in just under 42 overs.

That score was never going to be enough to challenge PNG and though they lost Asad Vala in the first over, Tony Ura and Amini put on a solid unbeaten 114-run partnership to carry PNG home. Ura was unbeaten on 64 while Amini was 43 not out.

Half-centuries from Waqas Barkat and Najeeb Amar carried Hong Kong to a thrilling one-wicket win over Italy at the Mission Road Ground. Italy elected to bat but started poorly, losing openers Andy Northcote and Damian Fernando with just 26 runs on the board. Italy captain Alessandro Bonora and Peter Petricola then put on 110 runs for the third wicket to set the base for a big total. Bonora was run out for 40 but Petricola remained solid as he added a further 42 with Damian Crowley. However, Italy frittered away the advantage as they lost five wickets for 50 runs to slide from 178 for 3 to 228 for 8. Petricola was unbeaten on 104 as Italy reached 235 for 8 at the end of their 50 overs.

Italy looked set to defend that total as Gayashan Munasinghe struck with his medium-pace to pick up three quick wickets to leave Hong Kong struggling at 25 for 4. Hussain Butt and Nizakat Khan revived the Hong Kong innings with a 43-run fifth-wicket partnership but it was the 97-run seventh wicket partnership between captain Najeeb Amar and Waqas Barkat that got Hong Kong's chase back on track. Both batsmen looked set to carry their team across the line before Amar fell for 52 in the 44th over with the score on 184. Hong Kong seemed to lose the momentum with Amar's dismissal as Munir Dar and Nadeem Ahmed fell in quick succession. They needed 26 off the last 12 balls with just one wicket in hand but No. 11 Aizaz Khan played a blinder, swatting three sixes in an eight-ball 24 to take Hong Kong home with two balls to spare.

United States of America overcame an early batting collapse to post a two-wicket win in a low-scoring encounter against Oman at the Hong Kong Cricket Club. Oman, who were sent in to bat, started strongly, with openers Hemin Desai (28) and Deep Trivedi (11) putting on 42 runs in just under 7 overs before Desai was bowled by Kevin Darlington. His dismissal triggered a collapse as Oman slumped from 42 for 1 to 110 all out in just under 38 overs. Only Sultan Ahmed, with his 30, offered some resistance as Usman Shuja, Orlando Baker and Asif Khan picked up seven wickets between them.

USA's chase started disastrously as medium-pacer Rajesh Kumar picked up three key wickets and ran out Sushil Nadkarni to leave USA reeling at 16 for 6 in the eighth over. However, No. 9 Usman Shuja (43) and No. 10 Asif Khan (31) held firm to carry USA home. The duo added an unbeaten 71 runs for the ninth wicket to anchor USA to victory with 16 overs remaining.

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