Khurram Khan leads from the front to take hosts to third win of the tournament
Asked to bat, Hong Kong got off to a decent start with Irfan Ahmed and Waqas Barkat, the openers, playing cautious knocks of 19 and 15 respectively before Jamie Atkinson added a quickfire 42 to take Hong Kong to 95 for 3 in just over 12 overs. But after Khurram Khan dismissed Atkinson, Manjula Guruge, the right-arm medium pacer, and Nasir Aziz, the off-spinner, picked up six wickets between them to restrict Hong Kong to 138 for 8 in 20 overs.
Khurram, the UAE captain, lauded Guruge and Aziz after the match, saying, "They are our main bowlers whenever we need wickets, whenever we need to break partnerships and put brake on runs. We look up to them and they have been performing throughout. It was our fourth match and it’s been a routine now to come back in the second spell and put the brake on scoring which has been working well for us."
UAE paced its chase with supreme control in spite of two early blows from Tanwir Afzal, the right-arm medium pacer, with Mohammad Azam and Khurram taking the hosts to 98 for 3 in the 14th over. An unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 44 between Khurram and Swapnil Patil took UAE past the target in the 19th over with seven wickets in hand. Khurram top scored for UAE with an unbeaten 67.
Speaking about the emphatic victory, Khurram, who was named the Man of the Match award, said, “I think last game (against Ireland) was heartbreaking after coming too close and losing it. But definitely we had to win today in trying to go far in the tournament. Hong Kong had been playing well they had three straight wins so a wonderful performance today from the guys they bowled superbly today. At one stage I was thinking score will go up to 170, but in last seven-eight overs they did well to restrict them."
Hong Kong will play Namibia in its next match on Wednesday at Sheikh Zayed Stadium Nursery 2 in Abu Dhabi, while UAE takes on Canada on Friday at the same venue.