30 October 2018
Charles Amini Jnr starred with 2 runouts and 4 wickets as Hong Kong were bowled out for just 145, after which Asad Vala and Dogodo Bau scored 120 runs for the 3rd wicket to guide Cricket PNG to a comfortable 7-wicket victory in the opening game of the 2018 South China Cup!
After electing to bat first, HK did not get the start they would have wanted. Jamie Atkinson was run out in the 3rd over, Nizakat edged Vanua behind in the 4th, and Babar was runout without facing a ball in the 5th. Charles Amini Jnr was the fielder on both occasions, showing off his fielding prowess. Norman Vanua bowled with good pace, and added the wicket of Kinchit Shah to his tally, the Vice Captain falling to an amazing catch by Jason Kila at mid-on. Jason Kila was also bowling economically from the other end, and, after 10 overs Hong Kong were 21/4 and in serious trouble.
Raag Kapur was batting well for HK, and rebuilt the innings with a 49-run partnership with the in-form Waqas Khan. Waqas Khan was looking good during his 24 (49 balls, 2 fours) till he popped up a pull shot to midwicket - Damien Ravu using the short ball to good effect. Soon after Raag Kapur nicked Amini Jnr behind, ending his stay at 38 (60 balls, 3 fours, 2 sixes). The skipper Aizaz Khan weighed in with a quick 31 of his own (28 balls, 3 fours, 2 sixes) till he hammered a pull shot straight to the fielder in the deep at long leg. Ehsan Khan battled for 22, but was of Amini Jnr's 3 LBWs, the legspinner taking 2 wickets in 2 balls to bowl HK out in the 42nd over. He will start his next innings on a hattrick.
The quick conclusion to the innings meant that PNG had to come out to bat for about half an hour before the lunch break, and HK capitalised on this opportunity to take a couple of quick wickets. Aizaz Khan got Anthony Vare caught behind down the legside in the first over, and Ehsan Nawaz got Tony Ura caught at the third man boundary first ball of the 2nd. After the first 7 balls of the chase, PNG were 5/2. It was up to the tall left-hander Asad Vala and the diminutive right-hander Dogodo Bau to negotiate a tricky 9 over passage of play till Lunch, which they did so successfully, taking the score to 39 in the process. There were a few streaky boundaries for Dogodo, and a few anxious moments for both batsmen, as both sides went into the lunch break with the game in the balance
After Lunch the two PNG batsmen began to steadily accumulate against a testing HK attack. The spinners did bulk of the work for HK - Ghazanfer and Ehsan bowling 20 out of the 31.4 overs delivered - and for the most part kept the two batsmen in check. But the two of them were steadfast in their task - keeping out the good balls, running hard ones and twos and punishing the rare loose deliveries. The captain Vala lead from the front, driving and pulling well, and brought up his fifty in the 22nd over of the chase. Together with Dogodo he had taken PNG to the brink of victory, and looked good to take his side home. However with just 21 runs to win he was dismissed, caught at midwicket from a mistimed pull off Ghazanfer's bowling for 64 (75 balls, 8 fours).
It was to be the last moment of success for Hong Kong in this game. Dogodo Bau brought up his own fifty the next over, and together with Charles Amini (who won Player Of The Match) saw PNG home with 7 wickets and more than 18 overs to spare. A comprehensive victory, and the visitors got 1-0 up in the South China Cup.
Join us again on Tuesday as HK look to bounce back and level the score!