Afghanistan's World Cup hopes all but over


HARARE — Afghanistan crashed to its third straight World Cup qualifying defeat at the hands of Hong Kong Thursday, while captain Jason Holder led the West Indies to victory over Papua New Guinea.

After losses to Scotland and Zimbabwe, new Test side Afghanistan's hopes were hanging by a thread, but it collapsed to 195-9 in pursuit of 242 to beat Hong Kong, with rain ensuring a 30-run defeat on DLS method.

Victory for Hong Kong in either of its two remaining Group B matches against Scotland and Nepal would see Rashid Khan's much-fancied Afghan outfit fail to even reach the Super Six stage.

Scotland became the first team to book its spot in the next round after beating Nepal by four wickets to make it three wins from three.

Another triumph for the Scots in their final group game against host Zimbabwe would leave it well-placed to claim one of the last two slots for next year's World Cup in England and Wales.

An excellent unbeaten 99 from Holder led the Windies to a six-wicket win against Papua New Guinea, after the two-time World Cup champions had slipped to 58-4 while chasing 201 for a second consecutive victory in Group A.

Ireland remains top of the table on net run rate despite not playing Thursday, while the United Arab Emirates look set to progress after a six-wicket win over the Netherlands.


Group A

At Harare

Papua New Guinea 200 all out in 42.4 overs (Assad Vala 57; Carlos Brathwaite 5-27) vs. West Indies 201-4 in 43 overs (Jason Holder 99 not out).

West Indies won by six wickets

Netherlands 176 all out in 46.3 overs (Rohan Mustafa 5-26) vs. United Arab Emirates 177-4 in 44 overs (Chirag Suri 78 not out).

United Arab Emirates won by six wickets

Group B

At Bulawayo

Hong Kong 241-8 in 50 overs (Anshuman Rath 65; Mujeeb Ur Rahman 3-26, Mohammad Nabi 3-48) vs. Afghanistan 195-9 in 46 overs (Ehsan Khan 4-33).

Hong Kong won by 30 runs (DLS)

Nepal 149 all out in 47.4 overs (Paras Khadka 63; Stuart Whittingham 3-35) vs. Scotland 153-6 in 41.3 overs (Kyle Coetzer 88 not out).

Scotland won by four wickets. — AFP