Scotland begin Tri-Series with defeat to Hong Kong
Hong Kong 206-3 (Babar Hayat 79*, JH Davey 1 for 33) beat Scotland 205 (CD Wallace 53, Nadeem Ahmed 4 for 33) by 7 wickets.
As the dust settles on the inaugural Desert T20 Challenge Scotland have prolonged their visit to the Gulf States with a Tri-Nation Series against Hong Kong and UAE. After their strong showing at the Twenty20 competition the additional event has provided a welcome chance for more international cricket as well as a precious opportunity for extra preparation in the fifty-over format for Grant Bradburnís men.
Scotlandís opening match against Hong Kong at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi was to end in defeat, however, as 4 for 33 for Nadeem Ahmed and a half-century for Babar Hayat took their side to a seven-wicket win.
After losses in the ICC World T20 and World Cricket League over the past twelve months as well as in the group stages of the Desert T20 Hong Kong were looking to break a barren run against Scotland, and, after winning the toss and fielding first, opening bowlers Aizaz Khan and Ehsan Nawaz bowled tidily as Matthew Cross and Kyle Coetzer made a watchful start.
The loss of Coetzer (27), however, bowled by Tanveer Ahmed at the end of the eleventh over, was a major setback. With both Calum MacLeod (4) and Josh Davey (5) falling to the slow left-arm of Nadeem Ahmed shortly after, Scotland were 68-3 and struggling to get their innings off the ground.
A partnership was needed but Hong Kong continued to conjure wickets to stall Scotlandís progress as runs proved hard to come by. George Munsey (24), after helping himself to a switch-hit four, was trapped in front by Ehsan Khan going for another before Cross (44) chipped a catch to Tanveer Ahmed at short fine leg nine balls later. Craig Wallace and Con de Lange started solidly, but de Langeís enforced departure retired hurt, immediately followed by a first-baller for Safyaan Sharif, left Scotland at 139-6 with only fifteen overs to go.
De Lange (20*) was to return with his side nine down to support Wallace (53) as he took his side to over 200, and himself to a half-century, with four consecutive boundaries, but he could only watch on as his partner was bowled by the returning Aizaz Khan to leave Scotland all out for an under-par 205 in the penultimate over.
With de Lange unable to take the field, and a required run rate of just over four, Hong Kong began unhurriedly, reaching 32-0 at the end of the eighth over. The ninth was to bring a breakthrough for Scotland, however, as Josh Davey claimed the wicket of Cameron McAuslan (8) to crown a good opening spell from the Somerset man.
Christopher Carter (43) and Nizakat Khan (25) were to follow by the halfway point but with Babar Hayat content to play the anchor role to see his side home the result was never really in doubt.
The Hong Kong captain brought up an excellent fifty off the first ball of the thirty-sixth over and, batting with Waqas Khan (35*), sealed a comfortable victory for his side, and a chastening one for Scotland, with more than five overs to spare.
UPCOMING FIXTURES (all times GMT): 24th Jan Scotland v UAE (6.00); 26th Jan UAE v Hong Kong (6.00)