HK hand Myanmar four-ton hiding
Batsmen lash 442 runs before opponents are out for just 20
Three centuries off the bats of skipper Tim Smart, Rahul Sharma and Hussain Butt helped Hong Kong plunder a record 442 runs from a toothless Myanmar attack at the Asian Cricket Council Trophy in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Myanmar, making their international debut, were then bowled out for a measly 20, managing to last just 12.3 overs. The margin of victory - 420 runs - was another record for Hong Kong. The whirlwind romp was the SAR's second successive victory in the preliminary group stage at the 17-team tournament, a pre-qualifying event for the 2011 World Cup.
'They [Myanmar] were a bit overwhelmed,' said Hong Kong coach Robin Singh. 'I don't think they had ever faced opposition like this before and they were a bit clueless, both bowling and batting. We would have preferred to have played stronger opposition.'
Local records tumbled as the SAR batsmen, much-criticised in the past couple of seasons for their poor form at international level, found their touch against facile bowling to register their highest score in limited overs. It was also the first time three batsmen hit tons in one innings for Hong Kong.
'It was very ordinary bowling and fielding from Myanmar,' said Hong Kong manager Ravi Nagdev. 'But our guys still batted very well to post such a huge score in 50 overs. It is a Hong Kong record.'
Obviously hoping the weather would intervene, forcing points to be shared, Myanmar asked Hong Kong to bat at the Selangor Turf Club. The SAR batsmen needed no second invitation to help themselves as they tucked hungrily into the hapless bowlers and post 442 for three when their 50 overs ended.
'I was a little bit surprised when they asked us to bat,' said Singh. 'Our main worry was the weather with rain being predicted in the afternoon. But thankfully we finished them off. We needed to get full points off these smaller teams.'
Teenager Irfan Ahmed set the tone for Hong Kong with a breezy 85 off 70 balls, including 13 fours. Ahmed and fellow-opener Smart put on the first 100 runs in 12 overs. They made 142 before Ahmed was caught in the deep.
Boundaries continued to come thick and fast on the small ground. Smart's 100 off 94 balls included 10 fours.
Sharma's 123 off 92 balls, was laced with 10 fours and four sixes. Sharma, 46, was later named man of the match. Butt's savage knock of 102 not out came from just 47 deliveries and included 16 fours and three sixes.
'It is nice to see our top four batsmen getting runs. Butt is playing well and Rahul seems to be very focused. He batted very well and seems to be in good nick,' said Singh. 'In previous tournaments, I always worried about Hong Kong batting out the 50 overs. That doesn't seem to be a concern this time.'
With rain on the horizon, Hong Kong's first aim was to see that they bowled 20 overs so that even if it was washed out, they would win on run rate. So left-arm spinner Najeeb Amar opened from the other end. But the SAR didn't have to worry for Myanmar's batsmen fell like ninepins with Afzaal Haider taking four for 18 and Najeeb six for two.
There were seven ducks in the innings and only 11 runs came off the bat.