USA 280/8 (Marshall 100, Taylor 88, Shah 4/37) defeated Hong Kong 196/7 (Shah 45, Aizaz 35, Gore 2/49). Hong Kong won the toss and bowled first.
USA secured a historic place in CWC League 2 and ODI status on Wednesday when they defeated Hong Kong by 84 runs at United Cricket Ground, Windhoek. Opening batter Xavier Marshall was Player of the Match for his century after the USA was sent in to bat by Hong Kong skipper Anshuman Rath.
Marshall shared a second wicket stand of 184 with Steven Taylor – the fourth highest for USA in their 50-over cricket history.
Hong Kong tumbled to their third consecutive defeat but fortuitously for them, Canada beat PNG meaning that the Eat Asian team is still in the fight for the crucial fourth spot, even if they don’t win their last match.
Here’s the table as it stands after four of five matches. Oman and USA have already now qualified:
Final round matches:
Canada v USA (Wanderers)
Namibia v HK (Windhoek Affies Park)
PNG v Oman (United)
Hong Kong has the better net run rate of the bottom three sides and a win against the hosts on Friday will all but arithmetically guarantee a spot in CWC League 2 and ODI status for HK.
If the three teams on one win at the moment, HK Canada and PNG all lose on Friday, it will all down to net run rate to determine the all-important fourth, fifth and sixth place.
After finally winning a toss Ashy Rath elected to field first and when the USA lost Monank Patel to Kinchit Shah in the second over things seemed to be leaning in Hong Kong’s direction, but from then on it was all USA as Taylor and Marshall came together.
When both batters were dismissed things did quiet down due to some good HK death bowling. But after a runout appeal against Timil Patel was turned down (despite replays indicating he was short of his ground) he played a key cameo for USA. He remained unbeaten on 32 from 12 balls – hitting the final two deliveries of the innings for six.
Kinchit Shah was the stand out bowler again for Hong Kong taking 4/35 from overs. He now has ten for the tournament.
Hong Kong’s chase got off to what seemed a good start after Atkinson played some sweetly timed boundaries but he was caught by a fielder who appeared (to some in the Hong Kong camp) to be one of three behind square – he had to depart, and not many balls after, a No ball was called for three behind square.
USA’s Ali Khan continued his impressive tournament, trapping the skipper Rath on the back foot right in front of middle stump and from then on – beyond a fighting 45 from 91 from Kinchit Shah, and the unbeaten stand of 66 between Aizaz Khan (35) and Ehsan Khan (31) – which may yet to prove a crucial one if it comes down to NRR after Friday’s matches are completed – Hong Kong’s batting performance left much to be desired.
USA Coach Pubudu Dassanayake told the ICC: “As a team we have worked really hard for the last two and half years and we have targeted this tournament. The boys are feeling great, it is a big achievement as the USA have never been to this level before and we are very happy to be in (ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup) League 2.
“Moving forward playing competitive ODI cricket for the next 2 and half years is another level, bringing the team to this will require more hard work. We are going to press hard in the next game, we want to win the tournament and be the best team leaving Namibia.”
Skipper Anshuman Rath lamented the performance.
“USA pretty much outplayed us, Xavier (Marshall) and (Steven) Taylor batted really well and we didn’t take wickets in the middle period which was crucial. USA did and (was therefore able) to go big at the end.
“With the ball, they were very disciplined I don’t think we quite accrued partnerships unfortunately, but going into the next game it’s do or die, it’s a simple equation: we win; we have ODI status; and if we lose we are relying on other results.
“There’s definitely a lot of pressure going into the next game but hopefully the lads can perform,” he told Emerging Cricket.
USA face off with North American rivals Canada at Wanders and Hong Kong’s final round match is against the hosts Namibia at Windhoek Affies Park from 9.30am local time.