Hong Kong submit to Malaysia in Trophy decider
HONG KONG'S days of dominating the Tuanku Ja'afar tournament are over.
Yesterday, in the final of the fifth championship, Malaysia swept past a sorry Hong Kong outfit to score a resounding 40-run victory. Once regarded as the minnows of Asian cricket, Malaysia have proven over the past week that they are on the brink of a better future. And in the past two days, both at the expense of the once proud Hong Kong, the hosts won famous victories which paved the way for their first Tuanku Ja'afar Trophy. Victory on home soil only made it sweeter for a Malaysian team whose forte has been their superb fielding and never-say-die attitude.
Hong Kong, who have now lost the trophy twice in succession after winning it for the first three years, would do well to show humility when they are seemingly in control of a game. Yesterday, a shocking batting performance, saw Hong Kong bowled out for their lowest score in tournament history.
While the Malaysians can take credit for their bowling and fielding, Hong Kong must hang their heads in shame for a spineless approach. None of the top-order batsmen applied themselves chasing a seemingly easy target of 121. The psychological barrier could not be breached. The cockiness was soon knocked out of Hong Kong as they found themselves down, losing three wickets for six runs. Drawn and quartered, the salt was rubbed in by the gleeful Malaysians who brilliantly piled on the pressure with their fielding, superb field-placing and accurate bowling. Hong Kong's bowlers had their moments yesterday, none more than off-spinner Rowan McGregor who was again the pick, taking two for 11 from 10 overs.
He had a sequence of 23 consecutive dot balls. Great at this type of cricket. The supporting cast of Bharat Gohel, Sada Hussain, Rahul Sharma, and earlier on Adrian Ashman and Ben Hall, enabled Hong Kong to dismiss the home team for what seemed to be a modest total. But the 121 runs soon began to take on mountain-like proportions. And the Hong Kong batsmen were soon over the edge and struggling.
'It was the worst batting display from a Hong Kong team I have ever witnessed,' conceded skipper Patrick Fordham. 'We put ourselves under so much of pressure.' It all began with opener Tim Smart run out to a fantastic piece of fielding by Malaysian A Muniandy. This same man, then held on to a diving catch at backward square leg to dismiss key batsman Rahul Sharma, playing a full-blooded pull on only his second ball.
There was more bad news for Hong Kong when their juniors went down to a crushing defeat at the hands of Singapore in the deciding game at the junior tournament in Ipoh on Saturday. Hong Kong were bowled out for 81 in the 31st over and Singapore knocked off the required runs for the loss of two wickets to win the inaugural Tuanku Ja'afar Junior Trophy. A sign of things to come?