Hong Kong stunned Ireland in low scoring encounter today at the World T20 qualifiers by 5 runs. This is hosts Ireland’s second consecutive defeat after their 21 match undefeated run was ended in the last match against Papua New Guinea.
Ireland, after winning the toss, had put Hong Kong into bat as there was little bit of rain around. Hong Kong, on the back of Mark Chapman’s 24-ball 30, scored 129/8 in their 20 overs. Hong Kong struggled to gain any sort of momentum for most part of their innings as wickets kept falling at regular intervals. Kevin O’Brien took 3-32, while George Dockrell and John Mooney had figures of 2-21 and 2-18 respectively.
Just before the start of the Irish innings, there was a slight delay due to rain. There were intermittent bursts of showers during the innings which helped the Hong Kong bowlers in stifling the Ireland batsman from scoring.
Ireland’s chase looked on course until the dismissal of opening batsman Paul Stirling when the scoreboard read 52. Once William Porterfield was bowled by Haseeb Amjad in the 18th over, it was all but over for Ireland as their batsmen were struggling and it didn’t seem like getting 25 from the remaining two overs.
23 runs were required of the last over with John Mooney at the crease. He hit the first ball for four, but 2 dots later in the over sealed the deal for Hong Kong.
Tanwir Afzal and Irfan Ahmed were the key bowlers for Hong Kong as they returned with figures of 0-9 (4 overs) and 3-11 (4 overs).
Hong Kong now has a chance of qualifying as the second ranked team in the group and thus making to the main event in India next year. Ireland’s loss means Papua New Guinea can take the first place if they beat either USA or Namibia in their remaining matches. Ireland will then be forced to play one more match to confirm their qualification of World T20 2016.
Image Credits: ESPNCricinfo