New Delhi: Hong Kong and the Netherlands booked their respective 2016 ICC Twenty20 World Cup tickets after registering contrasting wins in the qualifying play-offs in Dublin.
In the first play-off of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015, Hong Kong beat favourites Afghanistan in a last-ball thriller on Tuesday with Mohammed Nabi conceding 16 runs in the last over. Chasing 161 runs to win, Hong Kong won the match by five wickets thanks to Babar Hayat heroics, who scored 20 off nine balls.
On Wednesday, the Netherlands beat Namibia by four wickets in the second play-off to book their third Twenty20 World Cup appearance. In a low-scoring match, which also witnessed a brief rain interruption, the Dutch outfit managed to squeezed out a win with four balls remaining. However, hero of the match was Namibia spinner Bernard Scholtz, who took three wickets conceding 15 runs from his four overs.
Despite the defeats, both Afghanistan and Namibia will have one chance each more as they take on Papua New Guinea and Oman respectively on Thursday. Scotland and Ireland have already qualified for the ICC's Twenty20 show-piece tournament.
Six top teams from the qualifiers will join Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in the First round of 2016 Twenty20 World Cup. The two top teams from the First round will join other Full Member teams in the Super 10 Round for tournament proper.
India host the tournament, which starts on March 11. The final match will be played at the historic Eden Gardens in Kolkata on April 3 next year. Sri Lanka are the defending champions.