Nizakat spins HK to 26-run victory over Uganda
Alvin Sallay in Dubai
Part-time bowler Nizakat Khan spun Hong Kong to a sensational 26-run victory over Uganda in the opening game at the ICC World Cricket League Division Two tournament in Dubai yesterday.
Leg-spinner Nizakat sparked an amazing reversal in fortunes after he was thrown the ball in the 19th over with Uganda cruising at 88 for one chasing Hong Kong's modest 204.
'I hardly bowl for Hong Kong. I got the chance today because a number of our key bowlers were missing and I took up the challenge,' said a happy Nizakat after grabbing career-best figures of four for 14 in 10 overs.
His magic claimed the key wickets of Frank Nsubuga and Roger Makusa. Nizakat first dismissed Nsubuga caught and bowled, and then a couple of overs later got opener Makusa leg before.
Those wickets created doubt in the Ugandan camp. And Nizakat did not let up, claiming two more wickets as Uganda slipped to 123 for five. It was the beginning of the end, with Uganda finally folding for 178.
'We created a lot of pressure in the middle overs once the top two batsmen were out. We bowled a lot of dot balls and that helped us to get wickets,' said Nizakat, who still believed his four-wicket haul against Afghanistan two years ago as a 16-year-old was his best bowling feat.
'Nizakat was just superb. He was Afridi-like bowling quick and with a lot of bounce,' said Hong Kong coach Charlie Burke, referring to Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi. 'He swung the game for us. We all know he is a good bowler and he took his opportunity today.'
Hong Kong were missing left-arm spinners Nadeem Ahmed, out injured with a bruised big toe, and Munir Dar, who had still not arrived in Dubai as he had problems with his new passport. Adil Mehmood sat out once again with Max Tucker making his debut.
It was left to another 16-year-old, Mark Chapman, to give Hong Kong a fighting chance. The left-hander hit an unbeaten 70 as Hong Kong struggled to 204 all out.
Waqas Barkat, Nizakat and Irfan Ahmed were all run-out, the common denominator was Chapman, at the other end. But to single him out as the culprit would be wrong, for it was a lack of understanding between the batsmen which was the downfall.
Skipper Najeeb Amar's decision to bat first seemed to pay off despite the early loss of Roy Lamsan to the third ball of the day. Hussain Butt joined Courtney Kruger and the pair took the score to 73.
Just when they seemed to have settled in, the all too familiar rot set in.
Kruger was stumped to left-arm spinner Henry Senyondo. Butt followed in Senyondo's next over, bowled for 55. From 73 for one, Hong Kong had slipped to 78 for three.
The three run-outs left Hong Kong tottering on 104 for six with the cream of their batting back in the pavilion. Their dismissals left Chapman a forlorn figure at the crease. He was joined by Najeeb, who miss-hit a shot straight to mid-off and Hong Kong were 109 for seven with 17 overs left.
Chapman, however, resolutely stuck to his task. keeping one end going to remain unbeaten on 70.