Afghanistan and Hong Kong maintained their unbeaten records in the World Cricket League Division 4 ahead of their clash against each other on Wednesday. Both sides have three wins out of three; whoever wins tomorrow will be well-placed for promotion to Division 3.
Afghanistan were made to work for their eight-run win over Tanzania, with the batsmen again letting the side down. They scraped to an under-par 143, leaving the bowlers under pressure - and how they responded. Tanzania, chasing a revised 139 from 46 overs owing to rain, appeared set to cause an upset when they were 112 for 5, but a flurry of wickets took Afghanistan home. Mohammad Nabi, whose 3 for 12 earned him the Man-of-the-Match award, got fine support from Hasti Gul and Hamid Hassan - both of them also took three wickets .
"It was a very good match," Norooz Mangal, the Afghanistan captain, said. "It was a very exciting match but my team put in an excellent bowling performance."
Hong Kong's win over Fiji was rather more straightforward and comprehensive. Hong Kong made 233 for 7, with Roy Lamsam top scoring with a quickfire 55 - remaining unbeaten - before Najeeb Amar (3-21) and Nadeem Ahmed (3-28) ensured an easy win.
Tabarak Dar was pleased with the win, but acutely aware that tougher battles lie ahead - namely facing Afghanistan. "We have the upper hand against them having beaten them the last time we played them," Dar said. "It will be a tough game; they are a good all-round side like ourselves and it should be a good match."
Italy won the European battle, beating Jersey by 29 runs, to set up an intriguing finish to the tournament. Nick Northcote scored 38, but Italy could only manage 171, with Ryan Driver picking up 4 for 16. However, Jersey struggled to assert themselves - only Matt Hague offered resistance with a fine 53 - and they were bowled out for 121, ending their dream of qualifying for the 2011 World Cup.