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Now Hong Kong beat awful Irish

By Ian Callender

Now it's getting serious. Ireland lost their second successive game at the World Twenty20 Qualifying tournament, with Hong Kong claiming their first win over the leading Associate nation who are struggling to justify that tag in their home conditions.

Even more embarrassingly, with one match to go - against Jersey tomorrow morning - Ireland have not even confirmed their place in the top four, a must at the end of the group stages if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the finals in India.

At the start of the tournament, Ireland would have expected to have won the group with a victory in Malahide last night.

But the batsmen who have yet to post 150 in five attempts, failed again yesterday, this time a modest victory target of 130 out of their reach, although much of the credit for that must go to the Hong Kong bowlers.

In Irfan Ahmed they had the man of the match, his four overs all bowled in the second half of the innings, going for just 11 runs (seven singles and a four) and crucially he took three wickets, the big one of Paul Stirling, for a quickfire 34 (four fours and a six) with his second ball and, at the death, Stuart Poynter and George Dockrell.

Just for good measure it was his superb throw from long-off which ran out Kevin O'Brien.

But the question all the Ireland fans were asking at the end was why was John Mooney held back to No 8.

It was his 20 not out off seven balls at the end of the innings against Nepal which propelled Ireland to their highest total of the tournament and last night he was 18 not out off eight having hit the final two balls for six for four. But it was too late.

Porterfield would say only that Stuart Poynter - brought in for the injured Niall O'Brien - and Stuart Thompson were just as capable of scoring quickly but "it is something we will have a look at going forward".

But the captain, who used up 40 balls scoring 28, with only two boundaries, took responsibility for Ireland being in the position where they needed 25 off last two overs.

"I faced quite a few balls and we didn't get over the line," said Porterfield.

"The game has to be set for these cameos at the end by the lads in the top six, we can't be relying on numbers seven and eight.

"Now we have to reassess to put it right before our final game on Sunday.

"I'm not sure where we will be sitting after tomorrow's games but we need two points against Jersey and we will have to get it together.

"The bowlers once again did their job but the batting just hasn't been good enough."

The forecast for Sunday is for a total wash-out and, fortunately for Ireland, the worst position they can be in after today's three Group A games is fourth.

However, if the forecasters get it wrong then, if Jersey beat Nepal today, their game with Ireland on Sunday could be win or bust for both sides.

Papua New Guinea, Ireland's conquerors on Wednesday, confirmed their place in the top four with a clinical eight wickets victory over Nepal who were dismissed for just 93 and a win today against Namibia would all but secure they place at the top of the group and a direct route to next weekend's semi-finals.

Yesterday's other results: Group A Nepal 93 (19.4 overs) PNG 99-2 (14.1 overs). PNG won by 8 wickets. Jersey 161-4 (J Jenner 90 not out) Namibia 164-1 (16.3 overs, G Snyman 82, S Baard 61 not out). Namibia won by 9 wickets. Group B: Canada 172-8 (R Gunasekera 51) Netherlands 174-4 (17.3 overs, S Myburgh 67). Netherlands won by 6 wickets. UAE v Oman - abandoned

Group A fixtures: Today: Malahide: Nepal v Jersey, PNG v Namibia. Clontarf: Hong Kong v USA

Tomorrow - Malahide: IRELAND v Jersey (10am), PNG v USA (2.15pm). Clontarf: Hong Kong v Namibia (2.15pm).

Rory Anders took a hat-trick as Ireland Under19s showed their seniors how to do it, beating the Netherlands by five wickets at their World Cup qualifying tournament in Jersey, to set up a winner-take-all game against Scotland today.

The Phoenix opening bowler reduced the Dutch to four for three with wickets from his ninth, 10th and 11th deliveries and when rain reduced the match, Ireland's victory target was reduced to 133 in 37 overs, despite the Dutch making 141.

Donemana's Gary McClintock and Waringstown's Adam Dennison saw the Irish home with almost 10 overs to spare.

Meanwhile, CIYMS moved within one win of the top of the Ulster Bank Premier League with victory over Ballymena.

Result: Netherlands 141-9 (37 overs, SM Zulfiqar 62; R Anders 4-30, G McClintock 3-29, J Mitchell 2-24) Ireland 135-5 (27.2 overs, G McClintock 37 not out, A Dennison 32). Ireland won by 5 wickets (DLS)

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