HK lose again, despite more heroics from Butt

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 September, 2008, 12:00am

Heroics from Hussain Butt - once again - couldn't stop Hong Kong from sliding to their third loss against the Sri Lanka Academy XI, this time by 47 runs at the Burgher Recreation Club in Colombo.

Butt, who hit an unbeaten century in the opening game, top-scored with a run-a-ball 63 as Hong Kong chased 255. But despite an 87-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Ilyas Gull (36), Hong Kong finished on 207 for nine in a rain-shortened match.

But the performance was an improvement on the previous outing, when Hong Kong lost by nine wickets after being dismissed for 105.

'It was a better performance and would have been much closer if we didn't drop six catches while fielding. We let them off the hook,' Hong Kong coach Aftab Habib said. 'But the positives were that a couple of batsmen got reasonable scores, which will help their confidence.'

For the first time in three games, Hong Kong chased. The home team got off to an aggressive start thanks to Shehan Aravinda who scored 60 including three sixes. But Hong Kong clawed their way back in the middle overs, taking wickets at regular intervals and it was only a late surge by the tail which enabled the hosts to reach 254 for eight in 43 overs.

Irfan Ahmed was the most successful bowler with three for 50, while elder brother Nadeem Ahmed was the most economical, finishing with one for 30 off nine overs.

Hong Kong lost their openers Tabarak Dar and Skhawat Ali cheaply, before Butt and Zain Abbas (26) steadied the innings with a stand of 37. Abbas fell leg before in the 19th over with the score on 71, and with the run rate out to 7.36.

Butt hit a six and four boundaries, and, with Gull, took the score to 158 before he was bowled trying to force the pace in the 36th over. Needing to score at almost 14 runs an over, Hong Kong lost quick wickets to finish well short of the target.

'We didn't play their spinners well at all and were a bit tentative and slow in the run chase. But this is all part of the learning process,' Habib added.

Hong Kong will play one more game today on this training trip for the ICC World Cricket League Division Four tournament in Tanzania. They return home on Friday.