Ireland’s hopes of automatic qualification for the next year’s Twenty20 World Cup were dealt a major blow when they lost by five runs to Hong Kong.
Having seen their run of 21 consecutive victories in the tournament ended by Papua New Guinea on Wednesday, Will Porterfield’s side fell six short of their 130-run target in Malahide despite taking 17 from the final over as John Mooney launched a late, desperate assault.
Ireland looked to be in with a chance when they headed into the final four overs at 93 for four needing 37 more, but the loss of Porterfield for 28 and Stuart Thompson to successive balls, with Stuart Poynter dismissed for seven three balls later, proved fatal as they finished on 124 for eight.
Porterfield had earlier won toss and put Hong Kong in and his decision looked to have been justified when his bowlers restricted the batting side to 129 for eight from their 20 overs.
The most notable contributions came from Nizakat Khan, who scored 25 off 21 balls, and top scorer Mark Chapman, who took 30 from the 24 balls he faced as Kevin O’Brien claimed three for 32 with support from Mooney and George Dockrell with two apiece.