Stoic Nizakat overcomes cramps to rescue Hong Kong
Nizakat Khan overcame leg cramps to steer Hong Kong into the semi-finals of the Asian Cricket Council Trophy in Kuwait with a thrilling one-wicket victory over Oman in the last group game.
Nizakat bravely played through the pain barrier and, batting the last part of his innings with a runner, scored 57 to ensure Hong Kong's title defence stayed on track.
Hong Kong, who won their first ACC Trophy two years ago, will meet Afghanistan in the semi-finals after Malaysia pulled off an upset over favourites the United Arab Emirates. Malaysia will meet Nepal in the other semi-final.
Nizakat, named man of the match, held Hong Kong's innings together as they chased 169 in a match reduced to 39 overs due to a late start because of overnight rain.
'He deserved the award. It was a very good knock from him and one which pulled us out of trouble,' Hong Kong coach Tabarak Dar said.
Apart from Nizakat, opened Nasir Hameed stroked 34 while number three Hussain Butt hit 32.
'Everyone contributed, and we didn't give up even when we were nine down with six runs to get. It was close but thanks to the team effort we came through,' Dar said.
Nizakat had hit three boundaries and three sixes in his 72-ball knock when he was run out, or rather his runner was caught short. At that stage, Hong Kong were 150 for eight with Nadeem Ahmed joining Waqas Barkat.
The pair took the score to 163 before Barkat, stepping out for a big hit, was caught out of his ground and stumped. Last man Aizaz Khan, however, remained cool, and hit a boundary as Hong Kong scrambled home with two balls to spare.
Hong Kong had restricted Oman to 168 all out thanks to the left-arm spin of Munir Dar, who grabbed four for 19 from his allotted seven overs. Munir received support from fellow left-arm spinner Nadeem, who took two for 36.