Two day matches seem to rarely finish in anything other than a draw unless mandatory declarations are in force. This match between Hong Kong and Nepal had mandatory declarations but the game still ended in a draw in Abu Dhabi.
In order to give both teams plenty of time with both bat and ball, and to increase the likelihood of a result, the first innings for the team batting first was restricted to 60 overs, followed by 40 overs for the first innings of the team batting second. This pattern was then reversed for the second innings.
Another unique aspect to the arrangements of the match was that, due to ground availability issues, each day of the match was played on a different ground, with the teams moving from the Sheikh Zayed Stadium Nursery Oval 1 to the Nursery Oval 2 for the second day of the match.
Hong Kong captain Tanwir Afzal won the toss and chose to bat first. Anshuman Rath and Kinchit Shah opened the batting, putting on 61 before Shah was dismissed by Basant Regmi for 29. Rath scored 42 before retiring, which was followed by the key partnership of the innings between Babar Hayat and Nizakat Khan.
That pair put on 81 for the third wicket before Khan was out for 48, whilst Hayat was unbeaten on 68 when the mandatory declaration came after the end of the 60th over. Hong Kong had scored 215-4.
Nepal lost opener Mahesh Chhetri early on in their reply, but didn't lose another wicket before the close of play. Anil Madal and Sagar Pun put on 85 to take the total to 106-1 from 36 overs at the end of the day. Mandal had the top score with 56.
On the second morning, stand in Nepal captain Gyanendra Malla opted not to use his remaining four overs before the mandatory declaration, instead declaring on the overnight total. Hong Kong decided to reshuffle their batting order so that more players would have an opportunity to bat.
Some of those players didn't have the chance to bat for particularly long though. With the score on 13, debutant Bikram Sob took three wickets in four balls during the fourth over as Jamie Atkinson watched at the other end.
Christopher Carter and Haseeb Amjad were able to stay with Atkinson for brief periods, but it wasn't until Niakat Khan joined him at the crease with the score on 68-6 that the Hong Kong innings recovered. That pair were able to put on 92 for the seventh wicket before Atkinson was out for 80.
Khan and Babar Hayat took the score to 203-7 from 38 overs - Khan scoring 58 from 47 balls - before Tanwri Afzal declared early, setting Nepal a stiff target of 313 from 60 overs.
Nepal lost Mahesh Chhetri and Naresh Budayair early on, and those dismissals probably put paid to any ideas Nepal had of attempting a run chase. They evidently decided that time in the middle as they prepared for more important matches to come was more important than winning this match.
Anil Mandal and Sharad Vesawkar scored 44 and 47 respectively, but no other Nepali batsman really performed particularly well. At one point it looked like Hong Kong might even bowl them out, but the lower middle order managed to resist for long enough for the captains to eventually shake hands on a draw with Nepal on 155-7 after 50 overs.
Hong Kong and Nepal will return to the Abu Dhabi Nursery Oval grounds on Sunday for games against England and Pakistan respectively. Another two day match - between UAE and Oman - will start tomorrow in Ajman.
Hong Kong drew with Nepal
Sheikh Zayed Stadium Nursery Oval 1/2, Abu Dhabi, 5-6 November
Hong Kong 215-4d (60 overs, Babar Hayat 68*, Nizakat Khan 48, Anshuman Rath 42)
Nepal 106-1d (36 overs, A Mandal 56*)
Hong Kong 203-7d (38 overs, J Atkinson 80, Nizakat Khan 58*, Bikram Sob 3-37)
Nepal 155-7 (50 overs, S Vesawkar 47, A Mandal 44, Hasjeb Amjad 4-23)