Hong Kong defeat Scotland in WCQ opener
Hong Kong 263/7 (50 overs) Ahmed 75, Afzal 42, Wardlaw 3/57 beat Scotland 246 all out (48.4 overs) Mommsen 118, Machan 34, N Ahmed 4/37, Amjad 3/53 by 17 runs [Scorecard]
A century by the returning Preston Mommsen wasn’t enough to save Scotland from a 17 run defeat at the hands of Hong Kong in the opening match of the World Cup Qualifiers in Queenstown, New Zealand.
After winning the toss and electing to field first Scotland got off to a confident start. The initial breakthrough came in the third over when opening bowler Safyaan Sharif threw down the stumps to run out Mark Wright for 1. Sharif continued to bowl with a purpose as his first six overs only conceded seven runs.
Hong Kong recovered though as Ifran Ahmed and Jaime Aitkinson put on a 60 run partnership, before Matt Machan struck in his first over to remove Aitkinson for 27 in the 20th over.
Mark Chapman and Babar Hayat were both dismissed in the thirties to ensure the Hong Kong innings kept its momentum.
It seemed Scotland were again on top after Iain Wardlaw had danger man Ahmed caught by Calum MacLeod for 75 in the 38th over, leaving Hong Kong on 159/9.
However, Tanwir Afzal (42) and Haseeb Amjad led the recovery and contributed vital runs towards the end of innings to set Scotland a target of 263 from 50 overs.
The Scottish reply didn’t start well when both Kyle Coetzer and Calum MacLeod were dismissed by Haseeb Amjad, as the Scots found themselves on 33/2 in the eighth over.
Tanvir Afsal claimed his first List A wicket when he trapped Matt Machan LBW in the 15th over, after the Sussex batsman has scored 34.
Preston Mommsen and Robert Taylor looked to get things back on track - the duo put on a fifth wicket partnership worth 50 - before Taylor was caught by Aitchinson for 28.
Mommsen was eventually to reach his century from 102 deliveries, but unfortunately for Scotland wickets continued to tumble at the other end.
A ninth wicket stand of 50 between Mommsen and Haq did get Scotland to within touching distance, but couldn’t quite get them over the line as they found themselves all out for 246 in the 49th over, giving Hong Kong the win by 17 runs.
Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer admitted after the match that his team had performed under-par, “Our performance today wasn’t good enough and we fell short of the standards we set ourselves in each discipline.
Preston showed the way on his return from injury and made a magnificent hundred which got us close. Unfortunately nobody was able to stay with him long enough to get us over the line.
It is clearly not an ideal start to the tournament but our aim will simply be to play better in the next game and take it from there”.