22 April 2023
Hong Kong men manage DLS victory against UAE
BY IRA GORAWARA
KATHMANDU, NP - If there’s one thing UAE and Hong Kong have demonstrated in their contests, it’s that they pack raindrops in their kit bags.
Yet another matchup between the nations saw the Duckworth-Lewis method (DLS) formulating the trajectory of the game and thus deciding the winner.
Behind centurion Anshuman Rath’s 106-run knock, Hong Kong’s convincing effort with the stick ensured the DLS method favored the side.
After being on the wrong side of what seemed like a crucial toss to win, captain Nizakat Khan and the Hong Kong men were sent in to bat early. Fortunately for the squad, this decision allowed them to emerge victorious through DLS procedures.
The commencement of Hong Kong’s innings looked promising for UAE as both Captain Khan and “run-machine” Babar Hayat were forced off the pitch within the first ten overs. After a Player of the Match performance with a 108 not-out show, Hayat’s dismissal was critical for the UAE bowlers.
Hayat’s outing brought in left-hand batsman Kinchit Shah, whose 35-run execution contributed to a 77-run partnership between opener Anshuman Rath and Shah. The duo’s production propelled Hong Kong to a 122 mark, rebuilding what looked like a downhill trajectory for Hong Kong.
After the umpire’s dreaded finger lifted, Aizaz Khan’s efforts on the pitch were halted as an LBW decision sent the right-hand bat back to the Hong Kong dugout.
Following A. Khan’s dismissal, Hong Kong’s lineup collapsed as the next three batsmen fell in just six overs while delivering a mere 11 runs.
Having secured nearly half the team’s runs, Player of the Match Rath hoisted his bat and helmet to the sky as a superlative innings of poise and composure reached its hundred-point mark, his second in the ODI format. In an impressive knock, Rath was selective with his shots, exhibiting power when necessary but also playing ‘rescue ranger,’ stabilizing an innings that was on the brink of crumbling.
Hong Kong’s tail-enders, Ehsan Khan and Ayush Shukla, managed a 39-run partnership in just four overs after Rath’s dismissal sent Shukla to the crease. The two took Hong Kong past the decisive 250-run stage, handing their opponents a tough chase.
Creating Hong Kong’s first breakthrough once again, right-arm fast bowler Ayush Shukla saw out UAE’s captain Muhammad Waseem for single-digit figures. Yasim Murtaza didn’t miss the leather after Waseem attempted the outside edge.
Hong Kong’s next wicket sent waves of worry to the UAE pavilion. Vriitya Aravind was sent off his crease after contributing just seven runs, 178 short of his most recent performance.
A 73-run partnership ensued for UAE, as the squad gained a glimmer of hope sitting at 104 for the loss of two men.
It didn’t last.
When the 24th over saw the fracture in opener Aryan Lakra and right-hand bat Rameez Shahzad’s brewing partnership, the UAE middle-order followed suit as they saw four dismissals in the next three overs alongside a total of just 13 runs. Taking the first of the four wickets, right-arm leg spin bowler Mohammad Ghazanfar provided Hong Kong a breakthrough after UAE tried to claw themselves back in the game after early jolts.
In what would become the final over of the match due to weather conditions, right-arm off-spin bowler Ehsan Khan churned out a double-wicket effort to send UAE further down the trenches. Shukla connected Khan’s deliveries with two impressive catches, another figure to add to the youngster’s imposing 1/9 figures in six overs.
By the 27-over mark, the DLS forecast had UAE at 184 runs, 67 too many for where the squad was at. A stiff breeze across the ground and preventive measures forced the covers to be put on the pitch, and there was no sight of a restart in this match. DLS won it for Hong Kong by a 67-run margin.
Hong Kong dominated with the wood to get on the better side of the DLS system and added two more points to their board. With consecutive victories, they look to their next matchup against Bahrain at Mulpani Cricket Stadium on April 22 at 9 a.m.