England win by 169 runs but Hong Kong put up a good fight with Babar Hayat and Chris Carter
An 81-run partnership between Babar Hayat and debutante Chris Carter was not enough for Hong Kong as the side lost its first ever 50-over encounter against England by 169 runs in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Chasing 343 for victory in the historic encounter, Babar smashed 78 runs from 81 balls, including eight boundaries, to top score for Hong Kong. He was joined the crease by debutant 18 year-old Chris Carter with the score at a precarious three for 59, and the pair put on 81 runs for the fourth wicket. Carter added a composed 34 runs from 44 balls for the highest partnership of the match.
Earlier, England scored 342 runs for the loss of eight wickets, with left-hander Moeen Ali smashing top scoring with 71 runs. Hong Kong captain Tanwir Afzal led from the front and claimed two wickets for 40 runs, while Haseeb Amjad and Nadeem Ahmed also took two.
Chris Carter was thrilled with debut on the international senior stage: “I wasn’t expecting to play, I was 12th man, so that was awesome. It was good to play against that calibre of player.
The Hong Kong born player said his call up to keep wicket after a minor injury to Jaime Atkinson required enormous focus: “I don’t usually get nervous wicket-keeping, I get far more nervous batting, but that was the most nervous I’ve ever been. But you just have to be positive and put those thoughts out of your head.”
He added that there was one moment of the match he will never forget: “When Chris Woakes bowled me a bouncer that I hit over mid-wicket, that was pretty special.”
The match served as a warm up match for Hong Kong’s crucial ICC Intercontinental Cup and World Cricket League Championship encounters against the United Arab Emirates, and coach Simon Cook was pleased with his team’s performance: “It’s a credit to Hong Kong really, with three grounds and 300 cricketers, to be able to produce cricketers at that level is incredible. What we need to do is continue producing the cricketers underneath, and that is part of my job.”
“It was a huge learning curve for our players. We spoke after the match and I challenged them to think about the things to take away from the match to help them improve as players.”
England’s Chris Woakes said: “We have an important series coming and we need to hit the ground running, so this was an important game for us.
“I think the Hong Kong side should take credit for how it played today. We could have scored a bit more, but they got eight wickets down in the end. The way they batted showed that they can play against a strong England side.
“I think the future is bright for Hong Kong cricket. You have to take these experiences and learn from them, so as long as the side does that, I don’t see why it can’t move forward.”
ECB XI 342 for eight, 50 overs (Moeen Ali 71, Alex Hales 64, Jason Roy 42; Tanwir Afzal 2-40, Nadeem Amjad 2-58, Haseeb Amjad 2-80)
Hong Kong 173 (Babar Hayat 78, Chris Carter 34; David Willey 4-43, Reece Topley 2-18, Adil Rashid 2-46)
5-6 November: Hong Kong v Nepal, Oval 1 Abu Dhabi (two-day match)
11-14 November: Hong Kong v UAE, ICC Intercontinental Cup, ICC Academy 1 (First Class Match)
16 November: Hong Kong v UAE, ICC World Cricket League Championship, ICC Academy 1 (One-Day Internationals)
18 November: Hong Kong v UAE, ICC World Cricket League Championship, ICC Academy 1 (One-Day International)
21 November: Hong Kong v Oman, Oval 1 Abu Dhabi (Twenty20 International)
23 November: Hong Kong v Pakistanis, ICC Academy (Twenty20 match)
25 November: Hong Kong v Oman, Oval 1 Abu Dhabi (Twenty20 International)
26 November: Hong Kong v Oman, Oval 1 Abu Dhabi (Twenty20 International)
28 November: Hong Kong v Afghanistan, Zayed Cricket Stadium (Twenty20 International)