CRICKET

Tanwir Afzal leads series sweep of UAE; Hong Kong go top of the table

Captain shines with bat and ball in their ICC World Cricket League Championship match in Dubai

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 November, 2015, 12:26pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 November, 2015, 12:26pm

Tanwir Afzal led from the front with a record-breaking captain’s knock of 73 to lead his team to victory, and the top of the World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) table, with a 136-run win over host UAEin the second and final ODI of the series today.

The skipper’s flashy 24-ball half-century was the equal third-fastest ever by an Associate player in ODI cricket. The knock steadied the sluggish Hong
Kong innings and helped post a competitive total of 282 that had seemed unlikely earlier in the match.

The victory also catapults Hong Kong to the top of the competition table, with three wins from four WCLC matches.

The day belonged to the Hong Kong skipper, who not only continued his winning streak with the toss, but went on to top score with a 33-ball 73 and snare three wickets in an unforgettable Man of the Match performance.

After electing to bat, Hong Kong’s Anshuman Rath (53), Waqas Barkat (27) and Mark Chapman (27) all contributed runs, but the side regularly lost wickets and struggled for the most part to keep the run rate competitive. Three run outs in less than 13 overs added more pressure to the batting side, though it benefitted from three dropped catches in the field. With the score precariously placed at 159 for six from 36.6 overs, the skipper came to the crease, and quickly set about finding the buildings on the outside of the boundary.

Seemingly inspired by the captain’s fireworks, number nine batsman Aizaz Khan struck three consecutive sixes on his way to an unbeaten 37 from only 31 balls, and the pair put on a 101-run partnership for the eight wicket at an astonishing run-rate of 11.22. The partnership was the highest stand for the eighth wicket in the competition, and the sixth-highest partnership overall.

Hong Kong piled on 109 runs in the last 10 overs, the second highest total by an Associate team in that part of the innings, to post a reassuring total of 282 for eight.

The UAE responded in similarly heavy hitting fashion, but stumbled with the loss of four early wickets to be dangerously placed at 38 for four in only 6.2 overs. Dangerman Shaiman Anwar held the innings together with 71, and the tailenders held their ground doggedly against the Hong Kong bowling attack for six more overs to add six runs, before Anshuman Rath delivered the final ball to dismiss the hosts for 146 runs in 40.1 overs.

The win seals a successful week for Hong Kong, which beat the UAE by 89 in the first WCLC ODI and by 276 in their four-day, first class ICC Intercontinental Cup clash.