It’s a great day for Hong Kong, beating the UAE in a first-class game. It’s a really special day for us," says delighted Babar Hayat
· Tanwir: “It was an amazing victory, our first-ever win in a first-class game”
· Ahmed: “To perform as a cohesive unit, we also need to be patient with the scorecard”
Babar Hayat put in a man of the match display to inspire Hong Kong to its maiden ICC Intercontinental Cup victory by a convincing 276 runs margin against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the ICC Academy in Dubai. The victory has lifted Hong Kong to third in the table.
Speaking after the match, a delighted Hayat, who scored 113 and 73 in the match, said: “It’s a great day for Hong Kong, beating the UAE in a first-class game. It’s a really special day for us.
“I am really happy with my batting performance. I used to bat number-five or six, but I talked to (Hong Kong coach) Simon Cook and he said ‘you are going to move up’. I’m really happy batting at this position and am really looking forward to the next few games here on the same pitch, and hopefully get some more runs.”
A disappointed UAE captain Ahmed Raza was left to rue an inconsistent batting display. “Overall, I am disappointed with our performance in this ICC Intercontinental Cup,” he said.
“I feel we bowled well enough, however, we missed the opportunity to capitalise on Hong Kong being 140 for five on day one, which would have seen a lesser first innings score and a different mindset with the chase. We managed to take the game down to the fourth day, and that in itself is a positive.
“Our batting cost us in both innings. It’s unacceptable to be all out for 181 and 105. We will be expecting our batsman to refocus and prepare mentally ahead of the WCLC games and put in a stronger, competitive performance.
“Conditions didn’t favour us at all, fielding in the sandstorm on day one, then batting in the rain on day two. However, all credit to Hong Kong as they won each session and in the longer format it’s all about winning each session. We’ve started a building phase focusing on our future, and while needing to perform as a cohesive unit we also need to be patient with the scorecard,” he added.
Paying tribute to his side on a fine performance, Hong Kong captain Tanwir Afzal, who scored 104 in the first innings, said: “It was an amazing victory, our first ever win in a first-class game. I am so happy that the guys all showed up and did really well. It was an amazing start from the first ball, and then the second ball, and then the next over was also an amazing start. The guys stuck with the plan, so I don’t think we needed more than three bowlers after that.
“The bowlers were very relaxed. They didn’t have pressure because we know that it was a big total, that UAE couldn’t chase that. We had our plans in place but we stuck with the basic things, and the guys did a really good job. It’s going to be good that we are a bit experienced in ODI and T20s, so it is not really hard to change now to ODIs.”
Paying tribute to the match-winners in his squad, Tanwir added: “I think the way that Babar batted in the last couple of matches, he is the man who keeps scoring runs, and I hope that he will keep this form. The way Haseeb and Aizaz bowled on the final morning showed that they are going to be the stars as well.”
Hong Kong made first use of the conditions and posted 378 all out in challenging conditions in Dubai on the opening two days where sandstorms made way for heavy showers which affected the rhythm of both sides. Hayat led from the front and put on a 106-run partnership with opener Kinchit Shah (62). The visitors then lost four wickets for 24 runs before skipper Tanwir came to the crease and bludgeoned his way to his maiden first-class century off 171 balls, including 11 fours and four sixes. Asif Iqbal (three for 38) was the pick of the UAE attack with Ahmed Raza and Raja Adeel picking up two wickets apiece.
In reply, UAE was dismissed for 181 after a rearguard action by Swapnil Patil (75) and Usman Mushtaq (45) after the home side was reeling at 56 for four. Anshuman Rath was the pick of Hong Kong bowlers with figures of four wickets for 34 runs.
Leading the UAE by 197 runs on first innings, Hong Kong was bowled out for 184 that set the home side a victory target of 381, which proved too big a hurdle to overcome. The UAE was bowled out for 105 with Haseeb Amjad claiming four for 10 and Nadeem Ahmed bagging four for 40.
The winner of the ICC Intercontinental Cup will qualify for the ICC Test Challenge, which will be played against the 10th-ranked Test side on a home and away basis in 2018. If the ICC Intercontinental Cup winner wins the ICC Test Challenge, then it will secure Test status until the next ICC Test Challenge, which will take place in 2022.
UAE will be keen to get back to winning ways when it faces Hong Kong, while Nepal also plays Papua New Guinea, in two 50-over ICC World Cricket League Championship matches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, respectively, on 16 and 18 November.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan will be hoping to register its first points of the campaign when it hosts undefeated Papua New Guinea in Sharjah in the next Intercontinental Cup fixture.
ICC World Cricket League Championship: Nepal v PNG (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi), UAE v Hong Kong (ICC Academy 1)
ICC World Cricket League Championship: UAE v Hong Kong (ICC Academy 1), Nepal v PNG (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi)
ICC Intercontinental Cup: Afghanistan v Papua New Guinea (Sharjah)
Scores in brief:
Hong Kong beat UAE by 276 runs in Dubai
Hong Kong 378 (Babar Hayat 113, Tanwir Afzal 104, Kinchit Shah 62; Asif Iqbal 3-38, Ahmed Raza 2-103, Raja Adeel 2-104) and 184 (Babar Hayat 73, Anshuman Rath 32, JJ Atkinson 30; Ahmed Raza 5-61, Nasir Aziz 4-90, Raja Adeel 1-9)
UAE 181 (Swapnil Patil 75, Usman Mushtaq 45; Anshuman Rath 4-34, Tanwir Afzal 2-21, Nadeem Ahmed 2-47) and 105 (Laxman Sreekumar 61, Qais Farooq 26; Haseeb Amjad 4-10, Nadeem Ahmed 4-40, Aizaz Khan 2-20)
ICC Intercontinental Cup points table
Teams Mat Won Lost Draw Pts
Ireland 2 2 0 0 40
Netherlands 2 1 1 0 26
Hong Kong 2 1 1 0 20
Namibia 2 1 1 0 20
PNG 1 1 0 0 14
Scotland 2 0 1 1 13
Afghanistan 1 0 1 1 7
UAE 2 0 2 0 0
ICC World Cricket League points table
Team Played Won Lost N/R Points
Kenya 4 3 1 0 6
Netherlands 4 2 0 2 6
Scotland 4 2 0 2 6
Hong Kong 2 1 1 0 2
UAE 2 1 1 0 2
Namibia 4 1 3 0 2
Nepal 2 0 2 0 0
PNG 2 0 2 0 0