Dubai: Captain Jamie Atkinson led Hong Kong to a stunning eight-wicket victory over Bermuda by hitting a superb half-century in the ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers on Wednesday.
Also, spinner Shakti Gauchan took a hat-trick as Nepal convincingly beat Denmark by nine wickets.
Gauchan’s was the first hat-trick of the tournament and came on the same day that Louis van der Westhuizen hit the first century in Namibia’s 49-run win over Scotland.
Gauchan’s 4-20 helped bowl out Denmark for 82 and Pradeep Airee hammered 65 off 43 balls to propel Nepal past the winning target in just 12.4 overs.
Nepal joined Afghanistan at the top of Group A with four points. Afghanistan notched their second victory with an impressive four-wicket win against the Netherlands.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad hit 54 as Afghanistan reached 150-6 with two balls to spare after Alexei Kervezee’s 58 had guided the Netherlands to 149-6.
The top three from each of the two eight-team groups will go through to another qualifying stage for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, which begins September 18.
Namibia are also unbeaten after two games in Group B. After crafting Namibia’s stunning four-run win over Ireland on Tuesday, Van der Westhuizen smashed eight fours and eight sixes in an unbeaten 106 in his side’s daunting total of 192-3.
He then took 2-16 with his slow left-arm spin to restrict Scotland to 143-8 and keep Namibia on course for a place in the semifinals.
In other Group B matches, Ireland recovered from their loss to Namibia with an easy 10-wicket win over Kenya after bowling out the African nation for just 71 runs.
Italy survived United States’ late fightback in an eight-run victory for their second win in as many days.
Uganda defeated Oman by three wickets as they successfully chased down Oman’s total of 128-8 for the loss of seven wickets.
In Group A play, Atkinson smashed 13 fours and two sixes in an unbeaten 87 off 55 balls as Hong Kong raced to 164-2 inside 18 overs to overhaul Bermuda’s 161-5.
The victory severely dented Bermuda’s chances of progressing after they lost to Denmark on Tuesday.
Atkinson was well supported by Irfan Ahmed, who scored 50 off 37 balls, and shared a match-winning 113-run stand with his captain.
Earlier, Bermuda skipper David Hemp top scored with 43, while Janeiro Tucker (31) and Curt Stovell (29) also made useful contributions.
Papua New Guinea suffered a second successive defeat when they narrowly lost to Canada by six runs. PNG were restricted to 161-3 after Nitish Kumar’s 57 had lifted Canada’s total to 167-5.
Former England Test wicketkeeper Geraint Jones, who joined his country of birth just before the tournament, made a fighting 32 in PNG’s lost cause.