Hong Kong won the battle but lost the war as they couldn’t overhaul PNG’s NRR in the race to clinch a semi-final berth at the T20 WCQ.

The Pacific Islanders would have been confident at the half-way point after Tony Ura clubbed 8 sixes and 4 fours in his 83 from just 33 balls to power them to 185 for 7.

There were runs too for Charles Amini (37) and Lega Siaka (21), while Ehsan Khan (3-19) was the pick of the HK attack.

Babar Hayat almost matched Ura’s pyrotechnics as he smashed 86 from 45 balls (6 fours, 7 sixes) adding 70 in 7 overs with Zeeshan Ali (42 from 23).

HK needed to pass the total in 18.1 overs* to leapfrog PNG, but they couldn’t quite manage it after Hayat and Zeeshan’s departures, only securing the win off the final ball.

A thrilling game, and Hong Kong will rue their slow start to the group.

*It could have been as late as 18.4 overs if they had hit six from that ball with scores tied. Thanks to Bertus De Jong for the info.