Hong Kong fall agonisingly short against Oman in Asia Cup qualifier despite stunning Babar Hayat century
Number three batsman scores 122 but was unable to reach the opponents’ target of 180 in their T20 clash
Hong Kong came agonisingly close to pulling off an amazing run-chase, led by by Babar Hayat’s 122 in 60 balls, as they fell five runs short of beating Oman in their opening ACC Asia Cup T20 clash in Fatullah, Bangladesh on Friday.
After Oman had scored an imposing 180 for five, thanks to some late fireworks, Hong Kong appeared out of it at 77 for four in 9.1 overs.
Number three batsman Hayat, however, gave Hong Kong a fighting chance in his 91-minute knock featuring seven sixes and nine fours but HK still fell five runs short.
Hayat’s century, off 50 balls, was the fourth fastest Twenty20 international century of all time. His 122 included 9 fours and 7 sixes.
“I was happy with the way I played but we should have won the game so I should be a lot happier, to end up on the losing side is never a good thing,” Hayat said.
“When you are chasing a big total you have to be aggressive so I just tried to do this and everything kept coming out of the middle.”
“It’s the best innings I’ve played and my first hundred in T20 international cricket so I am happy with this.”
With one over left, Hong Kong needed 15 runs. But with 11 required from three balls, Hayat was caught at long off by Oman’s Jatinder Singh off AV Lalcheta’s bowling while going for a big hit.
With two balls left, Hong Kong effectively needed two sixes. Waqas Khan ran a single and Haseeb Amjad hit a four but it was not enough for victory.
Hayat hit four sixes in one over, that went for 27.
“I’ve never done that before,” Hayat said. “I did target that bowler and at that stage we had no choice but to go for it, I thought from there we deserved to win.”
Coach Simon Cook paid high praise for Hayat’s innings and lamented the fact it did not result in a win.
“Outstanding innings, he’s become a lot more consistent over the last few months and again proven why he’s the best batsman in Hong Kong,” Cook said.
“He controlled the innings perfectly and it showed that we let them get 20 runs too many because even with a fantastic innings by Babar, he still ended up on the losing side.”
Before that, Hong Kong’s Mark Chapman was out in controversial fashion in the ninth over when Aamir Kaleem saw that he had backed up too far and ran him out from the non-striker’s end.
“Yes it’s in the laws but I think it goes against the spirit of the game when you’re not at least giving a warning,” Cook said.
“Ultimately it’s a cowardly way out really, if you’re battling against one another, man against man, out in the middle and you choose to go down that route to get a wicket and win the game, it’s not really in the spirit of cricket.”
Oman’s win came soon after United Arab Emirates had stunned favourites Afghanistan by 16 runs in the opening match.
And with the unpredictable nature of T20, Hong Kong still have a chance of snatching the single qualifying place for next week’s finals against Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Earlier, Oman, who won the toss, scored 180 for five in their 20 overs. The Gulf team were always scoring at a lively pace and though Hong Kong managed to pull them back at 114 for four after 14,3 overs, Mehran Khan, with 28 and three sixes, and Amir Ali (32, one six and four fours), put on 50 for the sixth wicket in four overs to set Hong Kong a challenging score.
Nadeem Ahmed claimed three wickets for Hong Kong for 27 while Amjad and Mark Chapman picked up one each.
Hong Kong must now win their final two matches to have a chance of winning the tournament. They face UAE on Sunday and Afghanistan on Monday.