Hong Kong fails to defend 146, crashes out of Asia Cup qualification race
Having chosen to bat first in search of its first win, Hong Kong managed 146 for 7 in 20 overs on the back of Babar Hayat’s 45-ball 54. UAE then rode on a third-wicket partnership of 79 between Shahzad and Muhammad Usman to set the base for the target of 147 to be achieved in 18.3 overs for the loss of four wickets.
Naveed made the first impact in the game when he bowled Kinchit Shah with the fourth ball of the innings. Not long after that, Amjad Javed trapped Anshuman Rath in front wicket for 10 as Hong Kong was reduced to 26 for 2 in 4.5 overs.
Mark Chapman joined Hayat, and the duo resurrected the innings through a third-wicket partnership of 62. Ahmed Raza had Chapman caught at deep extra-cover in the 12th over for 29, but Hayat continued the good work through another stand of 34 with Nizakat Khan.
Big six finishes the game for UAE who were too good today by six wickets. Final game against Afghanistan tomorrow. #HKGvUAE— Hong Kong Cricket (@CricketHK) February 21, 2016
Hayat, however, was caught at deep square-leg off Farhan Ahmed off the first ball of the 16th over, and that broke Hong Kong’s momentum. Naveed returned to pick up two more wickets and finish with figures of 4-0-14-3, and Javed bowled Nizakat for 28 as Hong Kong mustered only 24 runs in the last five overs.
UAE lost Rohan Mustafa, the hero of its win against Afghanistan, in the second over, and Muhammad Kaleem fell in the next, but it had already started scoring briskly by then.
Shahzad and Usman built on that platform to amass 79 runs at a rate of 7.64. Chapman dismissed Usman for 41 in the 14th over, but the breakthrough came a little late in the day for Hong Kong. Shahzad then joined hands with Shaiman Anwar (25 not out) to add 40 runs in 5.1 overs and take UAE closer to victory.
Aizaz Khan bowled Shahzad soon after he reached his maiden Twenty20I fifty in the 19th over, but Javed hit the winning six off the very next delivery to wrap up the game with nine balls to spare.
While Hong Kong bowed out of the qualification race, UAE will know exactly what to do to make it to the tournament proper when it takes on Oman in the last qualifying game on Monday.
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