Home team will look to avenge its defeat in the first T20I, while Hong Kong will want to grab the opportunity and seal an important series win
After an unexpected loss in the first Twenty20 International, Ireland will attempt to even the scales when it takes on Hong Kong in the second and final T20I of their series at Bready Cricket Club in Magheramason on Tuesday (September 6).
Even though the team is without several experienced players like Paul Stirling, Niall O'Brien, Stuart Poynter, Tim Murtagh and Gary Wilson, Ireland would have considered itself the favourite for the series, especially given that it had beaten Hong Kong by 70 runs in a recent ICC Intercontinental Cup contest. However, Hong Kong showed that its reputation in the shortest format was not without merit with a comprehensive win in the first game.
Riding on Nizakat Khan and Babar Hayat’s hard-hitting knocks, Hong Kong stunned Ireland by 40 runs in the first T20I on Monday at the same venue, and another victory will give the side an important series win and vital momentum ahead of upcoming One-Day International contests against Scotland.
In the first match, Nizakat hit 62 off 43 balls at the top of the order, while Hayat, the captain, blasted 49 off 31 balls to drive the visiting side to a very healthy 169 for 5. The bowlers, led by Aizaz Khan’s 3 for 10 in three overs, then bowled Ireland out for 129 in 19.3 overs.
What had served Hong Kong particularly well in its win was striking early with the ball. The combination of Tanwir Afzal, Nadeem Ahmed and Aizaz had reduced Ireland to 24 for 4 by the sixth over, and the home team could never recover from those early blows. In contrast, Hong Kong had got off to a flying start courtesy Nizakat, with Aizaz the silent partner in a 41-run burst that came off just 4.4 overs.
Ireland will hope to iron out its starting issue on both fronts – by laying a more solid platform while batting and keeping the runs in check while bowling. For Hong Kong, it’s a matter of firing as a team once again, which it did splendidly in the first T20I.
The forecast for Tuesday, like it had been for Monday, is for showers, but both teams will hope that their luck holds and a full game is possible once again.
Ireland: William Porterfield (capt), Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Joshua Little, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O'Brien, David Rankin, James Shannon, Sean Terry, Greg Thompson, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Craig Young.
Hong Kong: Babar Hayat (capt), Aizaz Khan, Tanwir Afzal, Nadeem Ahmed, Tanveer Ahmed, Chris Carter (wk), Ehsan Khan, Nizakat Khan, Waqas Khan, Adil Mehmood, Ehsan Nawaz, Anshuman Rath, Ninad Shah, Shahid Wasif.