Hong Kong reach Asia Cup
The Asia Cup Qualifier concluded today in Kuala Lumpur with Hong Kong triumphing over the United Arab Emirates in a rain reduced final.
Hong Kong captain Anshuman Rath won the toss and chose to put the UAE in to bat. Ashfaq Ahmed and Chirag Suri got their innings started with a 54 run opening partnership before Suri was bowled by Tanwir Afzal. Aizaz Khan bowled both UAE skipper Rohan Mustafa and Rameez Shahzad in quick succession.
After Shahzad's dismissal in the 16th over, the rain drove the players from the field with Ashfaq Ahmed unbeaten on 43 from 40 balls and the UAE on 65-3. A lengthy rain delay followed, and when the rain relented and the ground staff cleared up, the match was reduced to a 24 over contest.
From the remaining 8.4 overs of their innings, the UAE scored a further 111 runs, with Ahmed clubbing another 36 from just 11 balls after the resumption to take his score to 79 from 51 balls. The final total for the UAE was 176-9, with Aizaz Khan taking 5-28 for Hong Kong.
Hong Kong started their reply quickly with Nizakat Khan and Anshuman Rath putting on 64 in 6 overs before Khan was bowled by Rohan Mustafa for 38 from 20 balls. A mini-collapse of the sort that are becoming a little too frequent for Hong Kong saw them lose four wickets for 18 runs in 3.5 overs.
Christopher Carter and Ehsan Khan got the run chase back on track with a 53 run partnership before Carter was run out for 33. Ehsan Khan batted on to reach 29 before he was out in the 20th over, followed 2 balls later by Aizaz Khan leaving Hong Kong on 147-7 and needing 32 runs in 4.3 overs.
Tanwir Afzal and Scott McKechnie played patiently at first, scoring five from the next nine deliveries, but they cut loose in the 22nd over, both hitting a six each. Sixteen runs came from the over leaving them needing 11 from the last 2 overs. Another 8 were taken from the penultimate over before Afzal was caught.
Ehsan Nawaz scored a single from the first ball of the final over before UAE keeper Abdul Shakoor let a ball through his gloves for a leg bye to complete the two wicket win.
The UAE will now miss out on taking part in a tournament they are hosting later this month whilst Hong Kong, who lost ODI status after the World Cup Qualifier just a few months ago, have ODIs against Pakistan and India to prepare for in the first round of the Asia Cup.