Published On: September 7, 2018 08:40 AM NPT By: Republica | @RepublicaNepal
KATHMANDU, Sept 7: Hong Kong has secured their berth in the forthcoming Asia Cup alongside India and Pakistan in the Group A after defeating the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a rain-affected final of the Asia Cup Qualifier 2018 by DLS method in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
Aizaz Khan’s five-wicket-haul helped Hong Kong restrict UAE to 176/9 in 24 overs, after the innings was affected by a long rain break, before Hong Kong chased the revised target of 179 with three balls to go.
Nizakat Khan and Anshuman Rath started well adding 64 runs in just six overs to put Hong Kong in front before UAE skipper Rohan Mustafa send Nizakat back for a 20-ball 38. The UAE looked in control as Babar Hayat and Kinchit Shah followed Nizakat to the pavilion to leave the scoreboard reading 68/3, which became 82/4 in the 10th over when Ahmed Raza bowled Rath for 28.
Hong Kong’s Christopher Carter (33 in 32 balls) and Ehsan Khan (29 in 24) shared a partnership of 53 runs for the fifth wicket. However, a Carter run-out and UAE’s Mohammad Naveed striking twice in an over left Hong Kong dangerously poised at 147/7. Scott McKechnie and Tanwir Afzal came to the rescue for Hong Kong. Afzal fell off the last ball of the 23rd over for a 12-ball 15 as McKechnie ended on unbeaten 14 from 11 balls.
Earlier, the UAE innings was a two-part affair, of 15.2 overs first and then 8.4 overs, broken by a long interruption because of rain and a wet outfield. The UAE were stranded on 65/3 when the rain arrived.
Ashfaq Ahmed was unbeaten on 43 in 40 balls at the stage.
Both Ashfaq (79 in 51 balls) and Shaiman Anwar (22 in 14 balls) resumed play in belligerent fashion. Similarly, each of Muhammad Usman, Adnan Mufti, Naveed, Amir Hayat and Abdul Shakoor hit one maximum as the UAE reached a relatively strong score.
Despite the carnage, Aizaz was hugely impressive, his five overs – 3.2 overs before the break and 1.4 after – going for 28 runs as he picked up five wickets with his medium pace.
Hong Kong will now prepare for their Asia Cup opener against Pakistan, to be played in Dubai on 16 September, followed by the fixture against India, also in Dubai, on 18 September. Both the matches will be awarded with the temporary ODI status for the matches against the heavyweights. Hong Kong lost status earlier this year in Zimbabwe after they finished last in ICC World Cup Qualifiers. Hong Kong lost to the host nation Malaysia in the opening day of the Asia Cup Qualifiers before making a resounding comeback to beat Oman, the UAE, Singapore and Nepal in a must win match to seal their place in the final.
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