Singapore: Hong Kong opener Alex French cracked an unbeaten 203 on Monday against the Maldives, the highest score of ACC Trophy cricket tournament, to book his side a semi-final berth.
In his first innings of the series after recovering from an injured hand, French carried his bat through the innings, bringing up his double century in the last over as Hong Kong took an 88-run victory. "I'd survived a couple of missed stumping chances and when I got to there (to 200) on the third to last ball I was elated, then I felt ridiculously tired," the Hong Kong-born right-hander said. Hong Kong shattered the Maldives bowling attack, and finished the 50 overs at 347 for two, with Rahul Sharma adding 61 and Dave Mallinson 55. Maldives' valiant chase ended in the 48th over, all out for 259 with the bulk of the runs coming from Moosa Kaleem making 91, Mohammad Aflah 54 and Ibrahim Hussain 51. French said his performance and Hong Kong's overwhelming win did not heal the disappointment of the weekend loss to Malaysia, which finished unbeaten in Group 'B'. Malaysia on Monday ended its pool series with a 94-run win over Singapore. Rakesh Madhaven top-scored with 72, and captain Suresh Navaratnam chimed in with an unbeaten 64 as Malaysia finished on 203 for five. It then had Singapore out for 109 in the 43rd over, with M Muniandy ripping through the top order to have Singapore at three for 14 at one stage and finishing with personal figures of 6.4 overs, two maidens, four wickets for nine runs. In the third match on Monday, Oman won the battle of the international debutants with a 96-run win over Qatar. Rakesh Sharma (92) and Hemal Mehta (89) guided Oman to 267 for six. In reply, Qatar was all out for 171. In Group 'A', the two unbeaten teams - United Arab Emirates and Nepal - clash on Tuesday.
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