Bahrain were supposed to be the appetiser before the main course at the Asian Cricket Council Trophy for Hong Kong. But the tiny Gulf state was more than a mouthful as they made a stunning debut on the international scene by scoring a shock 24-run win over their more fancied opponents. It has been repeated ad nauseum in these columns that Hong Kong's Achilles heel is their batting. And once again that proved so with the SAR's batsman failing miserably to chase a gettable target of 213 in 50 overs, being bundled out for 188 in the last over. 'Getting 213 on a batting track was always on the cards. But our middle order let us down badly. We failed to take the singles and we left it too late to make the charge. Keeping wickets in hand is one thing, but at the same time you have to score runs too and we failed in this aspect,' said devastated coach Robin Singh. After a steady start from openers Manoj Cheruparambil and Tim Smart, Hong Kong got bogged down in the middle of the innings and, when the final 15 overs were left to bowl, they needed 102 runs with seven wickets in hand. Skipper Rahul Sharma and Tabarak Dar were batting. This pair had come together in the 25th over with the score on 81. In the next 10 overs, they put on just 30 runs to take the total to 111 for three in 35 overs. It was this stage of the innings that coach Singh referred to. The experienced Sharma and Dar struggled to score freely against some tight spin-bowling, especially by leg-spinner Mirza Yaqoob, who finished with one for 19 off 10 overs. The fact that Hong Kong failed to score a boundary from the 22nd over until the 41st was the most glaring failure. 'We didn't get any boundaries, but we also failed to rotate the strike and take the singles. You can't expect the lower order to score runs under pressure if the middle order don't play well. Scoring six runs an over is achievable, but not nine or 10,' said Singh. With the run-rate steadily creeping up and the overs rapidly finishing, Hong Kong pushed the alarm button. When cools heads were called for the Hong Kong camp were in panic. Big-hitters Afzaal Haider and Najeeb Amar were moved up the order in the hope that they could bludgeon the runs. When Dar was out in the 37th over with the score on 116, Haider went in. He did not last long being run out trying to go for an impossible run with striker Sharma rooted in the crease. Najeeb, too, did not last long. He was out leg before trying to sweep and missing completely. From 116 for three, Hong Kong had slumped to 133 for six in just five overs. It was then that Ilyas Gull - one batsman who could have anchored the innings - walked in. With only 10 overs left and 80 runs needed, Gull could not dig in. Sharma and Gull put on 32 runs in the next five overs, but having used up his luck on 32 when he survived a stumping chance, Sharma was bowled going for a big hit. He top-scored with 62, but in the end it was not a match-winning performance from a batsman who has done this deed on so many occasions in the past. Although his knock came off 78 balls, most of his runs were scored at the end of his innings. Together with Dar, who batted for 42 balls, the pair used up too many overs in mid-innings and failed to keep the board ticking over. But all blame can't be slung on to their shoulders. Hong Kong let Bahrain off the hook while bowling when they allowed Qamar Saeed and Asghar Majeed to flourish and score a crucial 86-run stand which lifted the Gulf side from despair. 'Everything let us down today. Our bowling and fielding was very poor. We had the opposition on the rack but couldn't finish them off,' said a dejected Singh.