Hong Kong thrash Scotland in first-ever home ICC one-day international
Tanwir Afzal’s men triumph by 109 runs at a cold and overcast Mission Road in their World Cricket League clash
Tanwir Afzal became the first Hong Kong captain to win an ICC-sanctioned one-day international on home soil as he led his team to a resounding 109-run victory over Scotland in the opening World Cricket League clash at Mission Road on Tuesday.
Batsmen Anshuman Rath, with 97, and Nizakat Khan (94) played masterfully at the crease to give Hong Kong a defendable total of 259 all out after being sent in. Afzal, who took crucial early wickets to defuse Scotland’s chase, and spinner Nadeem Ahmed then destroyed the Scottish innings with assistance from Aizaz Khan (2-26) and Haseeb Amjad (1-13).
Scotland were bowled out for 150 in 39.2 overs with opener Calum MacLeod top-scoring with 58 and Joshua Davey the only other batsman to get his eye in with 24.
“Obviously, it’s an honour for me and a big responsibility as captain,” said Afzal. “I”m very, very happy with the win, added to the fact that it was the first ever ODI in Hong Kong.
“We were disappointed on the weather side of things that we couldn’t play the four-day game but we can’t control that.
“It was good to at least play and it was a really good win for us. The way Anshuman and Nizakat batted was fantastic, it’s not an easy pitch to bat on and Scotland have a strong bowling attack.”
The Braidwood Cup Series has been marred by bad weather, which saw the four-day Intercontinental Cup match between the two sides abandoned. The victory means Hong Kong strengthen their position at the top of the eight-team ODI league.
There was a brief stoppage on Tuesday because of a light drizzle but once the covers came off after a few minutes, they were able to compete the match.
Tanwir said he felt Hong Kong had done enough with the bat, though he may have preferred another 40 runs against a Scotland side who boast experienced batsmen, some of whom have English county experience.
Teenager Rath, who has represented Middlesex at age-group level, hit two sixes and eight fours in his 136-ball stay before he was run out in the 47th over. Nizakat smashed three sixes and 11 fours in 93 balls and, together with Rath, put on 170 runs for the fourth wicket.
Jamie Atkinson’s 21 was the only other Hong Kong contribution of note.
Man-of-the-match Rath, who had a career-high scoring day, was run out while trying to go for two runs in his bid for a century. He paid tribute to Nizakat at the other end.
“I’m sure I’m going to regret it at some point going for that two but happy to have won and that I could contribute,” said Rath. “To be honest, lot of credit should go to Kat. He kept me grounded at the other end and said we would get runs as long as we have wickets in hand.”
Scotland were nervous in their reply, scoring just one run in the first three overs before Afzal bowled
Kyle Coetzer for six. On his next ball, Afzal had Matt Machan caught behind by Atkinson from an edge as Scotland struggled to eight for two.
Captain Preston Mommsen was the third Scottish batsman to fall with the score on 17 and, from then on, Hong Kong were always on top as wickets fell steadily.
“We felt that we had put up a very decent total,” said Afzal. “We knew we are a good bowling side and were comfortable with what we had to do.
“They have got a few experienced players at county level and we knew that we needed to do something with the ball quite early. That was important for us.”
The final ODI is on Thursday.