Hard-earned win puts HK on threshold of Cup
By NAZVI CAREEM
HONGKONG are on course to retain the Tuanku Ja'Afar Cup after beating Singapore by 22 runs in Bangkok yesterday.
Following their victory over Malaysia on Friday, the territory are favourites to win the four-nation tournament, which they will do if they beat hosts Thailand in their final match today.
But Hongkong had to work hard to contain an enterprising Singapore side, who batted valiantly in their failed attempts to overhaul the territory's total of 303 for four off 50 overs.
Although Singapore's victory target of 304 was always going to be difficult, they were put in sight of achieving victory by a swashbuckling knock from middle-order batsman Sunder Mani, who hit 84 from 40 balls, containing six sixes and seven boundaries.
Mani was eventually caught by Steve Atkinson at square leg off Ross Greer's bowling, taking the wind out of Singapore's run-chase.
Singapore eventually scored 281 for nine off 50 overs.
Earlier, opener Dai Thomas played an anchor role in Hongkong innings with 64 in 150 minutes.
His fellow-opener Stewart Brew scored 52 while John Garden was unbeaten on 51 and Pat Fordham 60 not out.
But Hongkong struggled to get going, scoring only 77 runs off the first 22 overs.
After Brew was out, caught behind, the run-rate accelerated with Steve Atkinson scoring 44 and Greer a rapid 20.
Fordham and Garden made sure Singapore would face a daunting task with a 108-run partnership in just under 10 overs.
Singapore were finding it difficult to keep up before the arrival of Mani and at one stage were 83 for four.
Hongkong turned in a superb performance on the field, with David Cross taking three for 25 and Greer three for 42.
The annual event gives Hongkong players a chance to stake their claim for a place in the territory's squad for next year's ICC World Cup in Kenya.
It also provides an opportunity for regular international competition for the four countries' players.