With one round to go in the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC), Netherlands and PNG (Paupa New Guinea) have booked their ticket to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier (CWCQ) 2018, after Hong Kong defeated Nepal in the final series of round six matches.
Hong Kong's victory over Nepal in its first match and the abandonment due to rain in the second means no team can close the gap on Netherlands and PNG, who become the first two teams from the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) to confirm their places in the CWCQ.
Hong Kong will now battle it out with Scotland and Kenya in round seven of the WCLC for the final two qualification positions for CWCQ 2018 in Zimbabwe in March 2018.
Those who have not qualified will go into ICC World Cricket League Division 2 2018 which includes Nepal, Namibia and the UAE from the WCLC and Canada and Oman who have qualified from ICC World Cricket League Division 3 for the six-team tournament.
Batting first Hong Kong's opener James Atkinson (76) put on the majority of runs, as the leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane (3-48) and left-arm-spinner Basant Regmi (2-33) did the damage to reduce Hong Kong to 119 runs for seven wickets.
Tanwir Afzal hit an unbeaten 38 runs from 42 balls leading Hong Kong to a total of 194 runs all out from 50 overs.
Chasing the modest target, three of Nepal's batsmen got into the 20s, but could not convert them to big scores. Paras Khadka, the captain, top scored with 26 runs from 46 balls, Gyanendra Malla (21) and Aarif Sheikh (23) gave Nepal hope.
However, Ehsan Khan, the Hong Kong off-spinner, led the way with five wickets for 17 runs. Nepal were bowled out for 111 runs in 34.5 overs and victory was assured for Hong Kong by 83 runs.
Round seven fixtures take place in the United Arab Emirates on 6 and 8 December 2017. Positions will be important as the winner of the WCLC will take the 13th position in the recently announced ODI League.
(With ANI Inputs).