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Hong Kong players take the field against Italy in the opening 2022 Challenge League B match in Kampala. Hong Kong won by 58 runs. Photo: Cricket Hong Kong

Hong Kong get Challenge League B campaign off to winning start in Uganda, beat Italy by 58 runs

  • Aizaz Khan stars with bat and ball, while Kinchit Shah scores a century in opening game in Kampala
  • Italy put on 124 for ninth wicket to set up nervy finish at the Lugogo Cricket Oval

Lugogo Cricket Oval, Kampala (Hong Kong won toss): Hong Kong (2pts) beat Italy (0) by 58 runs

Hong Kong got their Challenge League B campaign off to a nervy start on Saturday, eventually beating Italy thanks to Kinchit Shah’s century but not before getting an almighty scare.

Having reduced their opponents to 101 for eight in the 25th over, Nizakat Khan’s side appeared to be cruising to victory at the Lugogo Cricket Oval in Kampala after posting 283 all out in their 50 overs.

Then came Italy’s opening bowler Jaspreet Singh, who bludgeoned 81 runs off just 60 balls and put on 124 for the ninth wicket with Crishan Kalugamage (50) to give his side an unlikely shot at victory.

Man of the match Kinchit Shah after his century against Italy in the opening 2022 Challenge League B match in Kampala. Photo: Cricket Hong Kong

Ultimately, the pair came up short, departing within the space of five balls. Kalugamage was first to go, bowled by Eshan Khan in the 44th over with the score on 225.

Singh followed on the first ball of the next over, becoming Aizaz Khan’s third victim of the day as he holed out to Nizakat Khan.

That Hong Kong were able to set a defendable total at all was entirely down to Shah (102) and Aizaz Khan (75), who put on 172 for the fifth wicket, rescuing their side from a precarious 85 for four in the 24th over.

Shah’s century came from 97 balls, and included nine fours and five sixes, while Aizaz Khan hammered nine fours and three sixes in his 80-ball stay at the crease.

Hong Kong preparation ‘couldn’t be better’ for Challenge League opener

Gareth Berg had largely done the damage for Italy up until that point, removing Hong Kong’s top three cheaply, with Adit Gorawara (19), Nizakat Khan (15) and Jamie Atkinson (6) all departing before 13 overs had been bowled.

The South African-born all-rounder ended up with figures of five for 51 off 10 overs, while Singh weighed in with three wickets while conceding 58 runs from his 8.5 overs.

Neither of them could do much about Shah and Aizaz Khan, however, and by the time Singh removed Shah, to leave Hong Kong at 267 for six, the damage had been done.

Aizaz Khan’s departure with the first ball of the 47th over, with the score on 257, had triggered another flurry of wickets, and Hong Kong lost their remaining five for just 26 runs.

“We didn’t start well, but the partnership between Aizaz and Kinchit changed the game, and I thought we did well overall,” Nizakat Khan said.

While the man of the match award went to Shah, it was Aizaz Khan who then took three wickets for 33 runs from his 10 overs, dismissing Joy Perera (0) and Manpreet Singh (9) at the top of the order before returning to claim the scalp of Jaspreet Singh that sealed his side’s 58-run victory.

The result kept Hong Kong in touch with Uganda, who they play on Monday, at the top of the league. Uganda have 10 points, with Hong Kong a point behind in second.

Jersey are three points further back in third, with Kenya and Italy on five points. Bermuda, who were hammered by Kenya by six wickets in the first game of this tournament, are bottom with one point.