Anshuman Rath hits maiden one-day century but Hong Kong fall short in epic run chase
Batsman scores 134 as the hosts lose by five runs in their ICC World Cricket League match at Tin Kwong Road
Hong Kong came agonisingly close to pulling off a thrilling victory over Netherlands in their opening match of the ICC World Cricket League series but fell five runs short at Tin Kwong Road on Thursday.
The last-wicket pair of Tanveer Ahmed and Nadeem Ahmed needed 10 runs off the final over bowled by Paul van Meekeran but they were only able to scramble three singles and two wides. Hong Kong ended their innings at 325 for nine after Anshuman Rath had scored a brilliant 134 chasing the Netherlands’ total of 330 for seven.
Hong Kong appeared to be cruising towards victory at 285 for three after captain Babar Hayat had scored 83. But once Nizakat Khan fell for 22, the Netherlands started to take control and wickets fell at regular intervals.
Hong Kong’s total of 325 would have been a winning score in any other game but on this occasion it wasn’t enough as they missed out on what would have been the highest successful chase in the WCL tournament.
“One that got away, which at the halfway stage we wouldn’t have expected, definitely one that we lost,” said Hong Kong coach Simon Cook.
“Some very poor shots and poor thinking under pressure was what it comes down to. We were 250 for two and lost a wicket then we lost two wickets quickly and with new men in it became difficult.
“Pleased for Anshuman to get over the line, it was good see him convert those 80s and 90s into 100 and Babar Hayat to maintain his form.
“The guys are pretty raw at the moment, when you get as close as we did it, it hurts a bit more, there will be a bit of work to do to pick the guys up.”
Victory puts Netherlands top of the WCL table with 14 points from nine matches. Hong Kong remain third on 11 points – one point behind Papua New Guinea – but have a chance to make up ground in the second and last match of the series on Saturday.
“Momentum swung both ways through the match,” said the Dutch captain Peter Borren. “We were happy to have 330 but we lost wickets at crucial times. We were in control and probably should have made more than that.
“Rath and Babar batted really well but I have to say Hong Kong gave it to us at the end so we will have to be a lot better in two days’ time, but we are pretty stoked to get the two points in what is a huge win.”
Netherlands won the toss and elected to bat, with opener Stephan Myburgh leading the way with 88 as the visitors batted confidently down the order to set Hong Kong a challenging target.
Ben Cooper (43), Roelof van der Merwe (62), Borren (40) and Pieter Seelaar (50 not out) also made significant contributions for the Netherlands. Ehsan Nawaz, Aizaz Khan and Ehsan Khan took two wickets each for Hong Kong.
Despite the daunting total, Hong Kong made a positive star to their innings. Chris Carter fell for 19 with the score a 43 after 6.3 overs but Rath and Hayat scored freely to set up a strong foundation for a potential winning chase.
Rath hit two sixes and 13 fours in his 121-ball innings as he made his first-ever one-day century while Hayat one six and eight fours over 107 deliveries.