Scotland 92-6 (K Coetzer 41*, Ehsan Khan 3 for 29) beat Hong Kong 91 (Nizakat Khan 26, T Sole 4 for 15) by 4 wickets
Scotland made it two wins out of two in Group B of the ICC World Cup Qualifier with victory over Hong Kong in a low-scoring thriller at the Bulawayo Athletic Club. Man-of-the-match Tom Sole’s 4 for 15 was the pick of a superb display in the field as Scotland followed up their win against Afghanistan by completing victory in the 24th over.
Having been put into bat the Hong Kong opening pair of Nizakat Khan and Aizaz Khan made a steady start as Brad Wheal and Safyaan Sharif found early movement with the new ball. Nizakat looked in good touch as he began to find the boundary, cutting Sharif past point then driving Wheal through the covers to take Hong Kong to 45-0 after ten overs.
The next was to bring the breakthrough, however, as Nizakat (26) was trapped in front by Mark Watt, and with Aizaz (17) following four balls later to a spectacular tumbling catch by Watt off the bowling of Ali Evans, Scotland were well in charge.
The introduction of Sole brought two immediate wickets as Anshuman Rath (0) was LBW to the spinner’s first ball before Scott McKechnie (0) was bowled by the third. Babar Hayat (7), Shahid Wasif (8) and Waqas Barkat (5) followed swiftly as the Scots turned the screw, and with Evans (3 for 19) and Watt (2 for 23) applying the finishing touches Hong Kong had been skittled for under a hundred in 38.2 overs.
Although the chase began with the loss of Matthew Cross (2) and Calum MacLeod (10) to opening bowler Ehsan Nawaz, Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer propelled his side rapidly toward their target. After taking Nadeem Ahmed for 12 off the fifth over, including a towering six over long off, Coetzer took the total beyond fifty in a Nawaz over which included two more boundaries.
Joined by George Munsey after Richie Berrington’s departure the target fell below 20 in the 17th over, and although Ehsan Khan claimed the wickets of Munsey (22) and Craig Wallace (5) Coetzer stood firm. It was left to Sharif (2*) to hit the winning run as Scotland wrapped up a four-wicket victory.
“Obviously it was good to get the win and 2 points,” said Kyle Coetzer. “We knew that Hong Kong were going to be a dangerous team and the conditions on the field were always going to be hard, but the bowlers came out and bowled well to put them under pressure, so well done to them.
“On a personal it’s nice to get a few runs. I haven’t got as many as I would like running up to the tournament but I’ve got other guys around me playing well. I’m glad it was my day to get us over the line.”
Scotland will look for another strong performance against Nepal at the Queen’s Sports Club on Thursday as they bid to take a points advantage into the business end of what is turning out to be an outstanding tournament. Momentum is with them.