For HK, all's well that ends well

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 September, 2008, 12:00am

They saved their best for the last, but Hong Kong still ended losing - by 16 runs - as they ended a fruitful 10-day training tour of Sri Lanka with another defeat at the hands of the island nation's Academy XI in Colombo.

'It was a very good match, our best performance. We were in a very good position to win the game at one stage but unfortunately couldn't quite finish it off,' Hong Kong coach Aftab Habib said.

Put into bat, the Academy XI were quickly reduced to 57 for five before managing to recover to 179 for nine. That score turned into respectability thanks to a 69-run partnership for the last wicket which helped the hosts scramble to a 246. Irfan Ahmed and Munir Dar were the most successful bowlers taking three for 45, and three for 32 in their 10 overs respectively.

Hong Kong replied spiritedly, but were bowled out for 230 in the 47th over. A number of players got starts - skipper Tabarak Dar (35), Ilyas Gull (36), Munir Dar (32), Shakeel Haq (26), Najeeb Amar (21) - but no one stuck around and carried on to enable Hong Kong to pull off a morale-boosting first victory in their fourth match.

'But the positives are that we had them in a little bit of trouble when they were batting. They were 179 for nine, but being the good side they are, still managed to put on a good score,' Habib said.

'And then our batsmen all got good starts but no one went on to make a big score.'

He added: 'It was a very good chase and I'm happy that we are beginning to grow more confident. But it is disappointing that we didn't win. We still need to play more smart cricket.'

Hong Kong return today, but the players won't have time to unpack their bags, as they will leave for Tanzania next Friday for the ICC World Cricket League Division Four tournament.

'This has been a hugely beneficial trip for us. The most important thing was that we played against good opposition and we played in the heat,' Habib said.