Afghanistan and Hong Kong remain unbeaten
Defending champions Afghanistan and 2008 winners Hong Kong remained unbeaten after the second day of the ACC Trophy Elite in the UAE today, with the Maldives and the hosts also recording wins.
Afghanistan were playing Oman at Sharjah, batting first after Oman won the toss. They got off to a fantastic start, putting on 184 for the first wicket, a partnership that only ended when Karim Sadiq had to retire having scored 85 due to cramp, evidently suffering under the high early October UAE temperatures.
Mohammad Shahzad reached his century shortly after Karim retired, but was stumped promptly after that, and the Afghans collapsed to 219-6 before an unbeaten 25 from Samiullah Shenwari steadied them as they reached 268-8 from their 50 overs. Zeeshan Siddiqui was the pick of the Oman bowlers with 5-45.
Siddiqui was also the top scorer for Oman with 69 as he shared in a 75 run partnership for the third wicket with Jatinder Singh. Singh also reached his half-century, scoring 51, but they were the only significant contributions to the Omani innings and they were bowled out for 194, losing by 74 runs.
The other Group A match, at the Global Cricket Academy in Dubai, saw Bhutan take on the Maldives. Many observers suggested that the Maldives would have been a better entrant than Bhutan in WCL 8 last month, and they were proved correct when Bhutan were quickly reduced to 63-7.
An innings of 45 from Sonam Tobgay helped give a little more respectability to the Bhutan total of 146, but the target was never going to be enough. Mohamed Rishwan top scored for the Maldives in reply with an unbeaten 54 as they chased down the required runs inside 25 overs to win by six wickets.
In the Group B match between Hong Kong and Kuwait at Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Kuwait batted first after winning the toss. The Hong Kong spinners bowled well to keep the Kuwaiti scoring down, Nizakat Khan the pick of the bunch, taking 3-35 with his leg spin. Kuwait could only score 177 before being bowled out in the final over of their innings.
Hong Kong's innings started in the same way as it did yesterday with Waqas Barkat again being dismissed from the first ball. That didn't bother the side though and they chased down the required runs in 42.4 overs to win by five wickets, Jamie Atkinson top scoring with 48.
The hosts were also in Group B action, hoping to bounce back after yesterday's defeat to Nepal in their match against Saudi Arabia, the first international to be played on the Nursery Oval in Abu Dhabi.
Saudi Arabia batted first after winning the toss, and Mohammad Nadeem was the only one of their batsman to get a start, scoring an unbeaten 43 in the Saudi total of 116. Ahmed Raza was the pick of the bowlers with 4-25. The UAE then cruised to a seven wicket win in just 41 overs, Shaiman Anwar smashing 60 from 29 balls.
Friday is a rest day for the tournament, and play will resume on Saturday as Afghanistan play the Maldives and Malaysia play Oman in Group A. The two Group B matches will see Nepal play Kuwait and the UAE take on Hong Kong.