Preview: Hong Kong started the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 with some promise. A strong batting performance set up a 30-run win (DLS method) over Afghanistan. They had a decent shot at making it to the Super Sixes even. They also had in their side the highest run-getter and highest wicket-taker of the ICC World Cricket League Championship. However, it all went pear shaped for them after that. Since the Afghanistan game, they’ve been bowled out for 174, 153 and 130. Most disappointing was the final group stage game against Nepal, who hadn’t managed a single win until then. The batting has been the big letdown. Anshy Rath has two fifties and Babar Hayat one, but apart from them, no other batsman has more than 120 runs. The bowling has been the stronger suit, with Ehsan Khan leading the charts with 13 in five matches. But, with not enough runs to defend, they too have struggled to bowl out oppositions. As disappointed with themselves will be Papua New Guinea. An enthusiastic and driven bunch of men, the loss of ODI status will rankle, as will their inability to notch a single win so far. Only two batsmen have made at least 80 runs in the tournament, and even in that, nearly 75 per cent of Tony Ura’s 202 runs came in that one incredible innings of 151. There will be no better time than now for both teams to prove they are capable of fighting it out in the big leagues.