| Shakib-al Hasan
Calcutta: Hong Kong notched up a stunning two-wicket victory over Bangladesh in a thrilling qualifying round match in Chittagong on Thursday, but could not prevent the home side from booking a Super 10 berth in the World Twenty20.
Chasing a small target of 109, minnows Hong Kong struggled to 50 for five in the 10th over, but a fine rear-guard effort from lower-order batsmen, led by Munir Dar (36), took them to a shock win with two balls to spare.
Despite the loss, Bangladesh sneaked through to the Super 10 by topping Group A on net run rate. They finished the qualifying round on four points — the same as Nepal — but had a better net run rate of +1.466 as against +0.933.
Bangladesh now join three former champions — India, Pakistan and West Indies — and Australia in Group 2. Bangladesh would have been knocked out of the tournament had Hong Kong chased down the target in 13.1 overs, but that proved to be a tough ask. No.7 batsman Dar, who top-scored with a 27-ball 36.
For Bangladesh, left-arm spinner Shakib-al Hasan grabbed three wickets for just nine runs to put Hong Kong in trouble initially while Mahmudullah got two wickets for 13 runs.
This win by Hong Kong was the fourth such instance by an associate country defeating a full member of the ICC in World Twenty20.
Bangladesh will play their opening Super 10 match against the West Indies on Tuesday, while its remaining matches will be against India on March 28, Pakistan on March 30 and Australia on April 1.
Meanwhile, the winner of Group B will be confirmed after the last first-round matches in Sylhet on Friday. As the situation stands, Ireland are leading the group with four points from two matches, while the Netherlands and Zimbabwe are sitting on two points each. The UAE are already out of the race.
On Friday, Zimbabwe will take on the UAE, and Ireland will go head to head with the Netherlands.
If Ireland beat the Netherlands, then it will progress to the Super 10 stage. However, if Netherlands win and Zimbabwe defeat the UAE, then it will be a three-way tie, with net run-rate to decide which side will join England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa in Group 1 of the Super 10 stage.