ICC Media Release
Hong Kong skipper Jamie Atkinson revealed his delight after his side secured qualification to the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2010, despite losing by one wicket to the USA.
In a thrilling last-over finish, the USA achieved victory with one ball remaining but Hong Kong's net run-rate was good enough to edge out the Netherlands and Uganda and seal its place in next year's 16-team tournament.
'All the boys are just over the moon that we have qualified and at the way we fought back after such a poor start to the event,' said Atkinson.
'It would have capped it off to get a win against the USA, but we couldn't quite manage it.'
Hong Kong's Irfan Ahmed, who has been one of the batting stars of the tournament, made a vital 90 for his side to help it record 210-8 off 50 overs, having at one stage been 84-6. Asif Khan (34) and Aizaz Khan (30 not out) provided invaluable support, with Asad Ghous' 2-20 off 10 overs the pick of the USA bowling attack.
In reply, no USA batsman took advantage of encouraging starts to go onto make a big score, with Asad Ghous (31) and Regis Burton (30) the only players to reach 30 or more.
Despite this, at 189-6 USA appeared to be coasting to be victory, but a flurry of quick wickets meant that Saami Siddiqui and Salman Ahmad were required to lead their side to a tense victory.
Elsewhere, Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie praised his players after Ireland's 291-run victory over Vanuatu sealed the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier title, matching the achievement of the Ireland senior team that won the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in South Africa in April.
'I'm really delighted with our performance. We thought that net run-rate would come into it so we wanted to score lots of runs and the lads performed really well,' said Balbirnie, who revealed that his side would take a week off before embarking on a rigorous fitness campaign leading up to the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in January.
Paul Stirling's 164 inspired Ireland's brilliant total of 373-5 off 50 overs, with his innings coming off just 128 balls, containing 17 fours and seven sixes. Once again Graham McDonnell provided excellent support late on the innings, smashing 74 not out from just 38 balls.
In reply, only Lazaro Carlot (44) made double figures as Vanuatu's batting crumbled for the second consecutive game in the face of outstanding spells from the Irish opening bowlers. Shane Getkate (6-32) and Craig Young (4-46) bowled unchanged as Vanuatu was dismissed for just 82 all out in 14.1 overs.
'They got off to a good start, but we just focused on bowling straight,' said Getkate, who has been in outstanding form throughout the tournament.
'It's a great opportunity for us to go and play in the World Cup. I missed the last one through injury so hopefully that won't happen again. We want to defeat a Test nation at the event and generally be competitive. We also know that some good performances might help us get into the senior team.'
In other matches, Afghanistan experienced a disappointing day with the bat as Canada dismissed it for just 165 all out in 40.4 overs, with Shir Shirzai top scoring with 28. Canada's attack was led by Hiral Patel who took 3-18 and Nitish Kumar who grabbed 3-26.
In reply, Ruvindhu Gunasekara (57 not out) and Darius D'Souza (36) sealed an excellent five-wicket win for the home team with 6.2 overs to spare to achieve a fourth place. Afghanistan, who started the day as the table leader, ended the tournament as runner-up.
Finally, a century from Heni Siaka (103) was the foundation of Papua New Guinea's 254-7 off 50 overs against the Netherlands, with Lucas Brouwers (3-26) and Tim Gruijters (3-46) performing well.
But once again the Netherlands' batting collapsed under pressure, as it was dismissed for 168 all out off 48.3 overs to give PNG an 86-run win, who secured third spot in the tournament.