ICC Media Release
Hong Kong beat Papua New Guinea (PNG) by four wickets in the final of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 at the Kowloon Cricket Club in Hong Kong on Saturday.
Having been set a target by PNG of 203, Hong Kong claimed victory after a superb performance by teenager Mark Chapman which set the side up for victory. By virtue of reaching the final, both Hong Kong and PNG joined Namibia, Bermuda, Uganda and hosts United Arab Emirates in Pepsi ICC WCL Div. 2 to be hosted in Dubai from 8 to 15 April.
Elsewhere, Oman defeat Italy by eight wickets in the third-fourth play-off at Hong Kong Cricket Club while Denmark beat USA by 84 runs to take fifth place. Oman and Italy stay in Division 3 while USA and Denmark were relegated to Division 4.
After the group stage of the event PNG had been top of the table despite one loss to Hong Kong on Friday in the round-robin section of the tournament. Today, Rarua Dikana's men were ready to avenge the Hong Kong side that had inflicted the only defeat on the team during the course of the tournament's group stages, but Hong Kong had other plans in mind.
Hong Kong captain Najeeb Amar had a fantastic day with the ball claiming 3-32 including in his haul the key PNG opener Tony Ura for 51 and top order batsman Chris Amini for 60.
Amini had few team-mates to build on the total with, not helped by the four batsmen below him totalling just 12 runs, but the arrival of Hitolo Areni helped the team to respectable 202-8 at the close of the Papua New Guineans' innings.
After the break, the locals made steady work of knocking of the runs with the key player of the innings being middle-order batsman Chapman whose knock of 70 not out was key to the hosts victory.
The 16-year-old saw many of his team-mates come and go with Hussain Butt and Waqas Barqat the only two to pass 20 runs each. PNG captain Dikana was the pick of the side's bowlers, taking match figures of 3-40.
A delighted Hong Kong captain Najeeb Amar said of the side's win in front of its home crowd, 'Today I feel like I'm flying, like I am sat on the moon I am so happy that we've won the tournament. I was delighted to score the winning the runs with Mark Chapman in front of our home crowd.
'Credit must not just go to the team but also our coach, Charlie Burke, he's unbelievable, he made my job easier, he gave us a simple task, don't panic and the results will come, which they did this week.
'Our team is full of surprises and talented guys, especially Mark Chapman among many others, they can prove themselves against any team and hopefully when we get to Dubai we can do the same. The teams in Division 2 will be a tough task, but the way we perform and play and we can make it any level and we're confident.'
Man of the match Chapman said, 'It's an amazing feeling to win in front of my family and home crowd and then take home the man of the match medal too. I worked hard today to grind out the runs since I've not had a great run this tournament. I don't know much about Dubai and the sides we'll face, but I'm sure we'll be ready.'
PNG head coach, Andy Bichel, was obviously disappointed about not taking home the trophy but drew positives from the tournament and the side's promotion to WCL Div. 2.
'It's disappointing to lose in the final, but the plan was to win promotion to Division 2 which we have done. We're a young squad and hopefully this experience will inspire them to play better in Dubai.
'We haven't looked forward to Division 2 yet, but it's about being prepared to play at that one level up. Its about having plans for batsmen who will be of a higher standard, being in different conditions with different pitches.
'The higher standard you go, the better the wickets will get, the better the teams are and it will be a real test for us - we've got the players to do well, its now about preparing for the event.'