World Twenty20 Qualifier: Jersey thump Hong Kong
|ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier, Bready|
|Hong Kong 153-6 (20 overs): Rath 43; Stevens 2-22|
|Jersey 154-1 (17.2 overs): Gough 81 not out, Farley 57,Ahmed 1-26|
|Jersey won by nine wickets|
|Scorecard (external site)|
Jersey skipper Pete Gough hit 81 not out to guide his side to a nine-wicket win over Hong Kong in their opening match at the World Twenty20 Qualifier.
Anshuman Rath's gritty 43 at the top of the order saw Hong Kong post 153-6 in overcast conditions at Bready.
But Gough and big-hitting wicketkeeper Ed Farley (57) set the foundations for the Jersey run chase with a 112-run opening stand in 12.4 overs.
Gough was there at the end to score the winning runs with 16 balls to spare.
Coach Neil MacRae rated it as the best display in his coaching career. "This is number one," he told BBC Radio Jersey.
"It's unbelievable, what a start to the tournament. To play like this today, that's the number one performance and it's just really exciting with this team.
"For those players now, what an opportunity with Papua New Guinea tomorrow and the rest of the group to look forward to."
Earlier the Channel Islanders won the toss and chose to bowl first. Despite two sixes from opener Irfan Ahmed (27), Jersey restricted Hong Kong to 65-1 at the halfway point in the innings.
Spinner Nat Watkins struck with his second ball, bowling Nizakat Khan, while opener Rath had to wait until the 14th over for his first boundary. He eventually fell for 43, caught in the deep by Ben Kynman off the bowling of all-rounder Ben Stevens.
In reply, Gough set the tone with some nice strokes early on, while at the other end Farley brought up his half century with back-to-back sixes straight down the ground.
He was caught in the deep but teenager Jonty Jenner partnered his captain through to the end just before the rain came down.
"It's fantastic, a dream start," Farley said.
"We've prepared really well coming into this so it's nice to see all our preparation paying off.
"It's one win out of one, a perfect start, but now it's onto the next one."
The tournament is the most high-profile in which Jersey have ever competed, having qualified by topping ICC European Division One on home turf in May.
Fourteen teams are battling it out for the six remaining places at the World Twenty20 in India in 2016.