02 November 2018
A stunning century from Babar Hayat was followed up by an outstanding bowling performance by the spinners to win the third and final match of the South China Cup by 110 runs! Babar scored 107 out of a total of 204, and followed that up with 3 excellent catches, as the HK spinners bowled out PNG for just 94 runs.
After winning the toss skipper Aizaz Khan elected to bat first, but HK were quickly in deep trouble. Nizakat Khan's struggles with Jason Kila continued, as he was caught and bowled by the left-arm spinner on the 3rd ball of the innings. Norman Vanua set Shahid Wasif up well, getting him to drive uppishly to a full delivery, the catch well taken by Tony Ura in the covers. And then CJ Amini joined the party, hitting the stumps as Raag Kapur missed an attempted pull. After 10 overs, Hong Kong were 33/3, with Babar and Kinchit at the crease.
Together the two senior batsmen began to rebuild the innings. Some nice shots, smart running, and big sixes saw them take the score 95 before Kinchit Shah, against the run of play, holed out to deep cover for 22. Babar at this point was going well with 44 from 50 balls, and was joined by Waqas Khan in the middle.
This saw an increase in the runrate, as pair put on 79 runs in just 80 balls, with Waqas contributing just 15. Babar stole the spotlight, hammering the ball to all corners of Mission Road and hitting the first century of the entire tour. He brought it up with a six in the 34th over off just 96 balls. Hong Kong were 167/4 and looking at a score in excess of 250.
Then things changed. Waqas Khan was runout next over after a mixup looking for a second run, and just 10 balls later Babar was caught by the keeper after skying an attempted flick. He finished on 107 from 102 balls with 6 fours and 7 sixes.
180/6 in 35.3 overs and wickets kept tumbling. Damien Ravu, Charles Amini and Norman Vanua wrapped up the HK lower order for just 22 runs in the next 7.4 overs, and Hong Kong were bowled out for 204. Their last 5 wickets fell for just 30 runs. Damien Ravu was the pick of the bowlers for PNG, bowling quick and using the short ball well to finish with 3/48 in his 10. Charles Amini was expensive -being on the receiving end of some punishment from Babar- but wrapped up the lower order to finish with 3/52. This spell took Amini's tally for the South China Cup to 11 wickets in just 3 games.
Due to the quick end in the innings, PNG had to come out to bat right away, and were faced with a tricky 30-minute passage of play before the Lunch break. They got off to a good start - Tony Ura taking a liking to Haroon Arshad's bowling, hammering 24 from the young quick's first two overs, while Ehsan Nawaz kept things quiet against Anthony Vare, barely conceding any runs. After 4 overs, PNG were 28/0, and HK needed a spot of inspiration.
Babar Hayat was the man to deliver that yet again, with a spectacular leaping, diving, one-handed catch and the long-on boundary to dismiss Tony Ura. Ehsan Khan was the bowler, and the very next ball the veteran spinner trapped Dogodo Bau LBW. Charles Amini saw off the hattrick delivery -Assad Vala not coming out to bat due to splitting the webbing between his fingers while fielding- and together with Vare saw PNG to the break.
The visitors resumed with the score at 31/2 in 6 overs, and got off to the worst possible start. CJ Amini was trapped LBW by Ehsan Khan -his 3rd wicket- and Anthony Vare was caught at long-on trying to hit Kinchit Shah over the the top - Babar the fielder again. The first two overs after resumption of play were both wicket-maidens, and PNG were suddenly 31/4.
With just 10 men, it was always going to be tough for PNG to recover from that position, and HK kept on piling the pressure. Jason Kila -sent up the order- was bowled by Ghazanfar Mohammad, sweeping onto his stumps just 5 runs later. Kipling Doriga and Lega Siaka -playing just his second game of the tour- battled for a while, but Doriga feathered an edge behind off Kinchit's bowling just after PNG had crossed fifty. In Kinchit's next over, Lega chipped one to midwicket, and PNG were 60/7. Norman Vanua and Chad Soper continued their fine form with a quick 26 run partnership, but it came to an end when Vanua holed out to long-off where Babar took another good catch, timing his jump at the boundary perfectly. That was in Kichit's final over, the offspinner bowling his 10 in a row for four wickets. Damien Ravu was the last man dismissed, clean bowled by a jaffa from Nizakat Khan -bowling his first over of the entire tour- and PNG were all out in the 26th over. It was an impressive performance by the spinners - Ehsan Khan (3-1-2-3), Kinchit Shah (10-1-28-4) and Ghazanfer Mohamad (8-0-28-1) all turning in excellent spells, and Nizakat getting a wicket in his first over. PNG bowled out for 94 -the lowest score across both 50-over tours- and Hong Kong winning the dead rubber in emphatic manner.
A fantastic bowling performance to end the series. PNG win the South China Cup 2-1, Babar Hayat the POTM in the final game for his century and three catches. We hope you all enjoyed out coverage of this game, and the tour in general. Our next International assignment will be the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Nations tournament in December 2018 - be sure to stay tuned to our social media channels and our website for more information!
Full scorecards and statistics of the South China Cup can be found on CricHQ: