Fielding saves the day for SAR after poor start
The panic that set in after Hong Kong were bowled out for 92 in their last ICC Trophy warmup game against British Columbia in Vancouver was quickly dispelled by a superb display on the field that ended in a five-run victory to the SAR.
Bowled out after a batting display that coach Andy Moles described as 'very poor', Stewart Brew and his men struck back strongly to dismiss their opponents for 87 and keep their spirits up before their opening match in the 2003 World Cup qualifying competition against Denmark tomorrow in Toronto.
The morale-boosting victory in their final dress-rehearsal was somewhat tempered by news that all-rounder Sher Lama had injured himself after taking a sensational catch at point. Lama, diving forward, clung on to a ball cut hard by one of the middle-order batsmen in the BC lineup. But in taking the catch, he split the webbing between his first and second fingers in his right hand.
'He has had six stitches inserted. At this moment we don't know if we will have to call up one of the standby players. We will have to take a wait-and-see approach,' said manager Glyn Davies yesterday.
Lama's injury will be a big blow to the 14-strong team. The KCC all-rounder has come on in leaps and bounds in all facets of the game in the last 12 months. The four reserves in the wings are Ravi Sujanani, Adrian Ashman, Manoj Cheruparambil and Tim Smart.
Wicket-keeper Mark Davies top-scored for Hong Kong with 21. The rest of the batting failed with the trend being set by opener Saleem Malik, who ran himself out first ball going for a second run. 'It was a poor batting performance. But the guys dug deep and showed a lot of resolve and character in defending a low total,' said Davies.
Fast bowler Mohammed Zubair bowled with plenty of pace and venom. He took two wickets, striking early in the innings. Medium-pacer Brew set a fine example by taking three wickets and off-spinner Jawaid Iqbal chipped in with two more. The fielding was exceptional. Apart from Lama's superb catch, there were two run-outs, one from Zubair, who threw the wicket down from square leg to dismiss a key batsman.