HK bowlers prevail in tight final

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 December, 1998, 12:00am

Hong Kong battled back from the brink of disaster to inflict a 21-run defeat on Singapore to hold on to their Tuanku Ja'afar Cup title in a seesaw tussle at the Kowloon Cricket Club yesterday.

A devastating piece of bowling from Hong Kong - which saw Singapore's last six wickets polished off for just 24 runs - clinched victory for Stewart Brew's side.

But the day nearly ended in disappointment for Hong Kong after an ill-disciplined batting performance, which saw three batsmen run out.

Chasing a modest total of 219 on a perfect batting wicket, Singapore looked to be on top after recovering from a perilous position of 31-2.

Joshua Dearing and Johann Pierris were the tormentors-in-chief of the Hong Kong bowling attack, crashing boundary after boundary all round the compact Cox's Road ground.

Dearing, later named Man of the Match, was in rare form with the bat and punished every loose ball that came his way in compiling a brisk 62.

He chanced his arm once too many though in the 44th over, which signalled the beginning of the end for Singapore. At 168 for four and with six full overs remaining, his side were well-placed to reach the victory target of 220.

And when Dearing hit the opening ball of Brew's over high over the Hong Kong captain's head for a massive straight six, it seemed that the Singaporeans might reach their total well ahead of schedule. Fatally though, Dearing tried the same shot with the next ball, miscued slightly and Mohana Marzook was waiting to take the catch.

From 174 for five, Singapore's challenge collapsed and with Pakistan Association all-rounder Saleem Malik taking three priceless wickets, the tide had turned.

Mohammed Zubair took Sing's wicket and Brew wrapped up victory when he bowled Muruth for three as Singapore tumbled to 198 all out.

Earlier, wicketkeeper Mark Davies had top-scored for Hong Kong with 36 as the SAR finished on 219 for nine in their 50 overs.