27 April 2019
In a disappointing end to the round robin matches, Hong Kong slumped to its fourth straight defeat when they ran into a red-hot Namibian top order. They finish sixth on the table, outside the top four who attained ODI status and a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2.
After winning the toss an electing to bowl, Rath’s team looked in control after keeping the hosts to 26 from the powerplay. When the first wicket fell in the 15th over, the run rate had only slightly increased to three runs per over.
Then entered JP Kotze, who only had 35 from his four innings at WCL2 and he proceeded to dispatch the Hong Kong bowlers around and out of Affies Park in Windhoek. In his innings of 149 from 86 deliveries, he struck 15 boundaries and 9 sixes.
Particularly strong on the leg side he peppered the short boundary to the south-east where he lost numerous balls that went over the outer fence into adjoining shrubland.
Playing somewhat second fiddle was Stephan Baard who finished on 122 from 128, and when Kotze was finally dismissed in the 42nd over the pair had put on 243 in 37.4 overs.
Baard followed not long after and this brought together JJ Smit and Zane Green, who had already shared a century partnership against Oman earlier in the event, and they continued on where the second wicket pair had left off.
They brought up an unbroken century stand with a six on the penultimate ball of the innings – their contribution of 105 came at a breathtaking 13.4 an over. JJ Smit’s 23 ball 61 included 3 boundaries and 4 sixes and the wicketkeeper-batter Green’s 41 was from 21 balls with 5 sixes.
After Atkinson edged to keeper Green early in Hong Kong there was a faint glimmer of hope as Rath and Shah put together an impressive counterattacking stand of 132 in just under 20 overs but both fell in quick succession, the skipper one ball after sustaining another nasty blow to that left thumb again.
While Hong Kong put on over a hundred runs, with some handy contributions from Babar Hayat, Scott McKechnie and Ehsan Khan, the final score of 245 all out – their highest of the tournament – was still a whopping 151 runs behind Namibia’s total.
Hong Kong’s 5th place play-off match against Canada will determine which of the two Cricket World Cup Qualifier Challenge Leagues the sides will slot into.
The winner will be grouped with Singapore, Denmark, Malaysia, Vanuatu and Qatar. The sixth-placed side will play in the six-team group B of Kenya, Uganda, Jersey, Bermuda and Italy.