20 February 2020
The term 'Interport matches' was once used to refer to cricket matches that took place between various British settlements in South East Asia. Teams from Hong Kong, Ceylon, the Federated Malay States, Malaya, Malaysia, Shanghai, Singapore and the Straits Settlements played each other on a regular bases dating as far back as 1866 and as recently as 1987
This series marks a resumption of this 154 year old tradition, with Hong Kong facing off against Malaysia in the first ever T20Is between the two countries in their history. Initially scheduled to be held in Hong Kong, unforeseen circumstances almost brought an end to the series before it could even begin. But the Malaysian Cricket Association stepped up on short notice, and will now be able to host this historic series.
All five T20I games will be played at the Kinrara Oval. One of the finest grounds in the region, this has played host to several ICC and ACC events, most recently being used for the ACC Under-19 Eastern Region tournament (where Hong Kong finished 2nd place), and for a series of ODI and T20I games between England Women and Pakistan Women. The pitch is traditionally slow and tends to favour spinners, which is reflected in the squads picked by Hong Kong and Malaysia - both teams heavy on spin bowling options. Three out of the five games will be played under lights, and all games will be broadcast live and for free on YouTube. Entrance to the ground is free, so if you are in Kuala Lumpur, be sure to drop in and show you support!
Hong Kong Squad: Aizaz Khan(c), Scott McKechnie(w), Nizakat Khan, Kinchit Shah, Haroon Arshad, Waqas Khan, Mohsin Khan, Nasrulla Rana, Shahid Wasif, Ehsan Khan, Hassan Khan Mohammad, Waqas Barkat, Hamed Khan, Aftab Hussain
Selected Player Highlights
Kinchit Shah - The Hong Kong vice-captain has been in great form lately, with excellent performances in the ICC Challenge League B and the T20 WC qualifiers. An attacking left-handed top order batsman, he has scored three 50s and a century in his last 10 games, but has also chipped in with 10 wickets with his economical right-arm offspin. He'll be looking to sustain this good form throughout this series.
Mohsin Khan - A young left arm quick bowler capable of swinging the ball back into the right-handers, Mohsin Khan will be one to watch. Having been a part of the A Team and National Setup in the past, he caught everyone's attention with his performances in the Hong Kong Premier League T20 competition late last year, maintaining an economy of 5.46 with the new ball against the best that Hong Kong has to offer. This series could see him make his T20I debut, and if selected, except some entertaining new-ball spells.
Nizakat Khan - A Hong Kong veteran, this exciting strokemaker never seizes to entertain. His 48 off 30 balls against Jersey in the WT20 Qualifiers set the tone for HK to eventually make the play-offs, but overall the tournament was a quiet one for him. Only 28 years old, he is yet to hit his prime, and he will look to this series as a chance to get back into the groove. If he gets his eye in, expect plenty of breath-taking shots, and more than a few lost balls!
Malaysia Squad: Ahmad Faiz (c), Virandeep Singh(w), Syed Aziz, Bhushan Save, Pavandeep Singh, Aminuddin Ramly, Syazrul Idrus, Anwar Rahman, Sharvin Muniandy, Dhivendran Mogan, Nazril Rahman, Fitri Sham, Mohamed Arief, Khizar Hayat
Selected Player Highlights:
Syed Aziz Mubarak - This left handed opener is the leading T20I run-scorer for Malaysia, with 415 runs and 4 fifties, including 87 vs Vanatua in October last year. Only 21 years old, the home side will be looking to this youngster to get them off to good starts against a strong HK bowling attack.
Pavandeep Singh - One of the two talented Singh brothers of Malaysia cricket, Pavandeep is an accurate left arm spinner, and has picked up 13 wickets in 10 T20Is so far at an economy rate of only 7 RPO. He will enjoy the slow and low pitches at his home ground, and is likely to be the go-to bowler for his captain.
Sharvin Muniandy - only 24 years old and already his country's most-capped T20I player, Sharvin will look to add to this record this series. A big-hitting lower order batsman and useful medium pacer, Sharvin has come up through the youth cricket ranks in Malaysia, and adds depth and balance to the playing XI. Expect several useful cameos from him with both bat and ball.
All games of this series will be live streamed on the Malaysia Cricket Facebook Page and the FanCode website/app. You can find out more information about this series on our Event Page. Be sure to tune in and show your support!
- Nitesh Hemlani