England reach last eight of HK Sixes
England progressed to the Hong Kong Sixes quarter-finals, where they will play India tomorrow, as Pool B winners at the expense of defending champions Australia.
Having lost by six wickets to Ireland earlier in the day, Rory Hamilton-Brown’s side needed to beat Australia in their final pool game to progress at Kowloon Cricket Club.
England’s opponents posted a handy 85 for four thanks to twenties from Craig Philipson, Jason Floros and Scott Coyte - the latter’s unbeaten.
Tom Smith had Rhett Lockyear caught behind before Hamilton-Brown and Josh Cobb snared Philipson and Floros respectively. Cobb and wicketkeeper Chris Read combined to run out Jeremy Smith first ball.
England lost Darren Stevens first delivery, caught and bowled by Coyte who then cleaned up Cobb with only four on the board. However, opener Read hurried to 32 from eight balls before retiring not out.
Smith bowled Hamilton-Brown for 17 but Rikki Clarke’s unbeaten 12 aided victory, which also sent Ireland through as runners-up, with three wickets and four balls to spare.
Following yesterday’s four-wicket win over Bangladesh, England’s first contest today was against Ireland - who yesterday beat the Tigers but lost to Australia.
England did not lose a wicket in making 82. Hamilton-Brown and Stevens contributed 22 and 18 respectively after Peter Trego retired on 33 not out.
Smith had Kevin O’Brien caught and bowled for 14 before Hamilton-Brown had opener Paul Stirling, who had faced only five balls, caught behind for two in the third over to leave Ireland 44 for two.
Niall O’Brien turned the game Ireland’s way by cracking 35 from eight balls before retiring and, although Alex Cusack was run out for one, John Mooney’s unbeaten 20 saw Ireland to a final-ball victory.
Ireland will face Pakistan in the last eight while Australia, who thrashed Bangladesh by six wickets today, must make do with a play-off versus South Africa after New Zealand’s against Bangladesh.
Pakistan finished second in Pool C to Hong Kong, having today lost to the hosts by three wickets and beaten rivals India by 22 runs thanks to Umar Akmal’s 52 not out from 11 balls. With South Africa losing to India by five runs and Hong Kong by five wickets, all bar the Proteas were level on points.
The hosts will play Scotland, who were runners-up behind Sri Lanka in Pool A and ahead of the Woodworm All Stars, who will take on Sri Lanka again. All three finished with four points.
Scotland today won by five wickets against the All Stars, who then lost to Sri Lanka by 10 runs and defeated New Zealand by two wickets thanks to Lou Vincent’s unbeaten 55 from 11 balls against his countrymen. Sri Lanka thumped the Black Caps by 44 runs.