06 Sep 2018

Hong Kong claim famous win against UAE and qualify for the 2018 Asia Cup


Unimoni Asia Cup Qualifying Final 2018

Hong Kong v UAE (The Kinrara Academy Oval)

 

Hong Kong captain Anshuman Rath won the toss and elected to bowl first with overhead cloud and humid conditions present at the start of the game. A huge game for both teams with the winners guaranteed a place in the Asia Cup Final up for grabs with the knowledge that the team will also be placed in the same group as Pakistan and India.

UAE started well with the opening pair of Ashfaq and Suri negating the early movement making their way past 50 in the first 12 overs. Tanwir Afzal made the initial breakthrough with an excellent delivery hitting the top of off stump to dismiss Suri leaving UAE 52-1. Aizaz Khan was bought into the attack and had made an immediate impression dismissing the UAE captain Mustafa for an 8 ball duck and Shahzad for 2 before play was halted for 3-4 hours by an aggressive storm in the Kuala Lumpur area with UAE on 65-3 off 15.2 overs.

Once the players made their way back out, the game had been reduced to 24 overs per side. The dangerous Ashfaq was still there and he and Anwar took to the Hong Kong bowlers with a number of boundaries struck with Ehsan Khan being targeted on a flat Kinrara wicket. Nadeem Ahmed made his presence felt by dismissing Anwar for 22 and Ashfaq who top scored with 79. A flurry of wickets and boundaries saw UAE through 176-9 off their allotted 24 overs. Aizaz Khan was magnificent in taking 5-28 off his allotted overs and led the seam attack on a flat batting wicket.

Duckworth Lewis revised the Hong Kong target to 179 with Captain Rath being joined at the top of the order by Nizakat Khan. The chase got off to a flying start with boundaries coming at will across the first 6 overs with Nizakat in particular playing with a freedom commonly seen in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz competition in years gone by. 

Nizakat was the first to be dismissed by the captain Mustafa for an excellent 38 off 20 balls. From 64-0, Hong Kong had a mini-collapse losing 4 for 18 including Babar Hayat, Kinchit and Rath. Carter and Ehsan Khan set about rebuilding the innings with Carter looking in good touch and Ehsan beginning to find his range targeting the long on/deep mid-wicket region. The 50 partnership came up but the partnership ended with Carter being run out after a mix up after an initial direct hit at the non-strikers end. Hong Kong were 135-5 with the chase not much more than a run a ball. 

The closer the Hong Kong team got to the target the more the drama unfolded. Ehsan Khan and Aizaz Khan departed with 33 still needed and. The experienced duo of Tanwir Afzal and Scott McKechnie came together and played with a great deal of courage and experience to continue to whittle away at the target. The danger man for UAE (Naveed) returned to bowl his final over with the game in the balance. A full blooded pull for 6 by Afzal was followed by an audacious scoop over fine leg by McKechnie to leave 12 runs required with 12 balls remaining. The dismissal of Afzal off the last ball of the 23rd over left Hong Kong needing 3 to win off the final 6 balls with 2 wickets remaining. The first ball offered the chance of a run out at the non-strikers end which was missed…… 2 off 5 needed. McKechnie looking to finish with glory missed his pull shot but scampered a single to 3rd Man…… 1 off 4 needed. The winning runs were achieved when the batsman scampered through for a bye after the keeper fumbled the ball standing back… Hong Kong win by 2 wickets with 3 balls remaining and qualify for the Asia Cup!

 

An excellent all round performance form the squad and one which certainly has proven the talent amongst the group and reinforces the hard work that the squad has put in over the 6 month period since the World Cup Qualifiers in March in Zimbabwe. The opportunity to play Pakistan and India in the upcoming Asia Cup will be fantastic for the squad and also reinforces the efforts of the Head Coach Simon Cook who has been meticulous in the way which he has set out taking this team forwards.