HK still running cold in warm-ups

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 April, 2011, 12:00am


Nizakat Khan provided the only bright spark for Hong Kong, who tumbled to their second successive defeat in warm-up matches ahead of the ICC World Cricket League Division Two tournament.

Following on the heels of a six-wicket loss to Bermuda in the first of two practice matches, Hong Kong struggled again, this time losing by five wickets against Namibia, leaving Hong Kong head coach Charlie Burke and skipper Najeeb Amar with plenty to worry about before the real action gets under way tomorrow.

Nizakat top-scored with a confident innings of 73 from 70 deliveries, and it included three fours and four sixes. It contributed largely to Hong Kong's total of 218 all out. Namibia knocked off the runs with more than 10 overs to spare, highlighting the toothless nature of an attack that was missing Najeeb, who was rested, and fellow left-arm spinner Munir Dar.

Apart from Nizakat, the only other batsmen to look comfortable were Irfan Ahmed, who made a run-a-ball 29 while opener Courtney Kruger hit 32 off 53 deliveries. Kruger was one of two batsmen run out, the other was Hussain Butt, which once again underlined the poor running form at the top of the order.

Another major worry for Burke is how soon the runs are scored. Hong Kong's approach, even when they won the Division Three tournament at home in January, has been to keep wickets in hand and to try and use the batting power play and make a charge late in the innings.

Butt epitomised this cautious approach as his four runs came from 33 balls. But it was all for nothing when he was run out with the score on 40 for one. Kruger did not last longer, he was also run out, 11 runs later.

Hong Kong used seven bowlers, but once again came up short as the Namibian batsmen won the day.

If there is any consolation, both Namibia and Bermuda are regarded as the strongest two teams in the six-team competition. The other three sides are Uganda, the United Arab Emirates and Papua New Guinea. Hong Kong will open their campaign against Uganda.