Hong Kong win, but PNG go through as Dutch crush Uganda

Max O'Dowd
Netherland's Max O'Dowd plays a shot during the ICC mens Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Netherlands at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on October 18, 2021. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP) (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Netherlands put in a dominant performance in their final group match on Thursday to beat Uganda by 97 runs and ease into the semi-finals, where they will be joined by Papua New Guinea despite the Barramundis’ narrow loss to Hong Kong.

Put in to bat by Kenneth Waiswa, the Dutch innings started hesitantly when Frank Nsubuga dismissed Steph Myburgh before he had scored and Bas de Leede followed soon after, caught behind by Fred Achelam off the bowling of Juma Miyagi.

But now Tom Cooper joined Max O’Dowd, and the pair added 121 in just 12.1 overs for the third wicket in an increasingly devastating onslaught, O’Dowd hitting ten boundaries in his 57-ball 73 and Cooper, in his first really decisive innings since returning to international colours, finishing with a 42-ball 81 which included 11 fours and two sixes and which saw his side through to an imposing 187 for three.

It deservedly earned him the Player of the Match award, although this was somewhat harsh on Fred Klaassen, playing his 50th international across all formats, who celebrated by reducing Uganda to 27 for five in his first three overs.

The tall left-armer bowled Roger Mukasa with the first ball of the Ugandan reply and then removed Ronak Patel with the second, a screamer of a delivery which swung in enough to spear between bat and pad and uproot the middle stump.

Klaassen then had Simon Ssesazi caught by Cooper at slip off the first ball of his second over and trapped Achelam leg-before two deliveries later, before inducing a false stroke from Waiswa in his third over to give a catch to Aryan Dutt at backward square leg and leave Uganda reeling.

Riazat Ali Khan and Dinesh Nakrani managed a recovery of sorts, more than doubling the total before Nakrani was stumped by Edwards off Dutt, and with Riazat top-scoring with 19 and Frank Akankwasa and Nsubuga both chipping in the Ugandans reached 90 for nine by the time they ran out of overs.

Dutt, brought in for Paul van Meekeren for this game, took one for 20 from his four overs, while De Leede claimed two for 11 from his four and Shariz Ahmad one for 14.

The match between Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong, meanwhile, was as hard-fought as the game at Queen’s was one-sided.

Spearheaded by Tony Ura’s sensational 33-ball knock of 83, which included eight sixes as well as four fours, the Barramundis reached 185 for seven, Lega Siaka chipping in with 21 and Charles Amini making 37.

Ehsan Khan was the pick of the Hong Kong bowlers with three for 19 from his four overs, but everyone else came in for heavy punishment.

Ura’s effort was matched, however, by that of Babar Hayat, who had had a quiet tournament so far, but who now hammered 86 from 45 deliveries with six fours and seven sixes, and at 157 for four with four overs left Hong Kong appeared to be on course not only to pull off their first victory, but to do so with enough to spare to overtake PNG on net run rate and qualify for the semi-finals.

Then Kabua Morea returned to have Babar caught by Siaka, and when his partner Zeeshan Ali also fell to a catch by Siaka two balls later and departed for a 23-ball 42 the Barramundis were back in the game.

Norman Vanua removed Ehsan Khan in the next over, but still only 11 were needed off the last two overs, and Hong Kong had three wickets in hand.

To overtake their opponents in the table, however, they would need to get the runs within four or five deliveries, and Morea was able to confine Shahid Wasif and Scott McKechnie to a succession of singles, effectively ensuring that it would be PNG who would go through.

McKechnie finally struck Semo Kamea to the boundary to level the scores, but he holed out to Riley Hekure off the next ball, and it was left to Shahid to hit the winning, consolation run off the final delivery of the 20 overs to give Hong Kong the win.

But it will be Papua New Guinea who face Zimbabwe in Friday’s semi-final at Queen’s Athletic Club, while the Netherlands will take on the USA at the Bulawayo club.

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