Dinesh Nakrani took four wickets in a Man-of-the-Match display as Uganda pulled off the surprise result of the day with a nervy two-wicket win against Hong Kong at Bulawayo Athletic Cub.
A new-look Hong Kong side containing five debutants opted to bat first after winning the toss, but were soon in trouble as Nizakat and Aizaz Khan fell in the first three overs.
Babar Hayat ate up 24 balls for just nine runs as the bowlers dominated.
Kinchit Shah struck two of the three boundaries they managed, top-scoring with 37, while Zeehan Ali (11) was the only other batter to reach double figures.
At 64 for 3 in the 15th over, they would have fancied a strong end to make at least 100, but Nakrani’s 4 for 12, saw six wickets fall for just 18, as Hong Kong finished with a whimper on a final total of 87 for 9.
Any hopes Uganda had for a routine chase were soon given a reality check as Aizaz Khan struck second ball, on his way to 3 for 22. Mohammad Ghazanfar also took two scalps as wickets fell at regular intervals.
At 40 for 5 and 63 for 7, Hong Kong were slightly on top, but a dogged unbeaten 28 from Riazat Ali Shah (2 fours), coupled with double figure contributions from Nakrani (11) – who struck the only six of the game – and the experienced Frank Nsubuga (10) clinched the two-wicket win with just three balls remaining.
It could have been even tighter had the dropped catch that saw the two winning runs scored been taken. On such small margins, qualifications dreams hinge.