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Dramatic day at U19 qualifier sets up fascinating finale

Sat, Sep 12, 2009 11:43 AM


Dramatic day at U19 qualifier sets up fascinating finale
A dramatic day at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Toronto on Friday has set up a fascinating finish to the event with three teams competing for the final qualification spot separated only by net run-rate.

The Netherlands, Uganda and Hong Kong are all tied on six points. The Netherlands will face Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Hong Kong will take on the USA on the final day on Sunday after Saturday's rest day while Uganda will anxiously wait for the results of these two matches to know about its fate after having already played its nine matches.

And this exciting situation has been developed after Hong Kong recorded a stunning eight wickets victory over Vanuatu and Uganda's struggled to beat the Netherlands by two wickets.

In a remarkable game at King City, Hong Kong eliminated Vanuatu from the competition in the lowest-scoring match in the event to date. Six Vanuatu batters made ducks as it was bundled out for just 28 all out in 9.2 overs with Hong Kong fast bowlers Niaz Ali (5-13) and Aizaz Khan (5-14) bowling brilliant opening spells.

Although Hong Kong lost Shivang Baid and Nizakat Khan in its run-chase, it took just 8.3 overs to reach the victory target.

"We would have also batted first had we won the toss but it proved to be a good toss to lose as the ball swung for us," Hong Kong coach Aftab Habib said.

"It has given us a boost ahead of our last match and it is an advantage to have a day off before the all-important match against the USA. I am really pleased to pocket maximum points from this match as now we have an opportunity to qualify.

"The match against the USA will be a tough one for us. The USA is a good team as it has beaten Ireland in this competition but if we play like we played today, then we can remain positive about qualifying."

Uganda skipper Ahmed Yakub was rightly disappointed after his side nearly made a mess of a small target before romping to victory by two wickets against the Netherlands. Chasing a modest 94-run victory target, the East African side slumped from 43-1 to 61-7 before achieving target with more than 23 overs to spare.

"Until now, our performance has been disappointing in the tournament," said Yakub, adding: "We had thought we would win more than three matches.

"We've got to wait for the other teams to complete their matches before we know if we have qualified. Whatever happens on Sunday, our batsmen need to go back and work on their games."

At the other end of the table, Afghanistan continued its remarkable run in the event with an impressive six-wicket win over PNG.

Four wickets from Zakiullah Zaki helped Afghanistan to bowl out PNG for 197 before half-centuries from Ayoub Ahmadzai (79) and Noor ul Haq Malekzai (70 not out) took it to a comfortable victory.

"We want to win this tournament. It will be a pleasure to play against Canada and I hope we can get a victory. I am very proud of my team at this event, especially my captain and my coach," said Malekzai.

In a battle between the two Americas sides, Canada defeated the USA by three wickets.

The USA, batting first, collected 234 runs with captain Shiva Vashishat scoring a fine 72. Vashishat received excellent support from Greg Sewdial who made 46. Arsalan Qadir was undoubtedly the pick of Canada bowlers with fantastic figures of 6-44.

In reply, important contributions from Rustam Bhatti (87), Darius D'Souza (66) and Usman Limbada (32) helped Canada to reach its target with nine balls to spare.



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