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Hong Kong qualify for Asia Cup

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Sharjah: Hong Kong qualified for next year's Asia Cup after they thrashed Nepal by 179 runs in the first semi-final at the Asian Cricket Council Trophy on Tuesday. A blistering knock of 145 not out from Rahul Sharma set the foundation for Hong Kong's huge score of 268 for three in 50 overs. That total was completely outside the reach of the Nepalese batsmen who panicking, were bundled out for 89 in 25 overs.This is just fantastic for Hong Kong cricket. We have played very well and it is great knowing that we will be going to the Asia Cup,'' said victorious captain Stewart Brew.Nepal won the toss and put Hong Kong into bat. The move paid immediate dividends when openers Saleem Malik and Manoj Cheruparambil were back in the pavilion with only 11 on the board. But skipper Brew and Rahul Sharma coolly set about repairing the damage with a 124 run stand for the third wicket.Brew was out for 63 with the score of 135. Sharma continued to flay the attack all around the ground and with Mark Davies, posted an unbeaten partnership of 133 as Hong Kong reached 268. Sharma, who was given a life on 55, finished with the tournament's highest score which included 11 fours and six sixes. Davies was unbeaten on 36. The run chase failed to materialise for Nepal who in a bid to post quick runs, lost wickets at regular intervals. Brew wrecked the top order taking four for 20 as Hong Kong turned the screws on. We played very badly, particularly our batting. They saw a big target and we panicked,'' said Nepal captain Pawan Agarwal. The guys got too excited.''Hong Kong's win will put them in next year's Asia Cup One-day tournament in Karachi, alongside Test-playing nations India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The other qualifier from the ACC Trophy will come from the winner of Wednesday's second semi-final between the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. The final will be played on Friday.

AFP

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