Cricket Hong Kong

Anshuman Rath hits maiden ton, Hong Kong rack up highest ODI score in victory over Papua New Guinea

The opener scores 143 not out as his side notch their second straight win over their opponents to finish third in the ICC World Cricket League Championship

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 9:41pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 10:51pm

Anshuman Rath hit his maiden one-day century as Hong Kong scored their highest-ever total on the way to a convincing victory over Papua New Guinea on Friday in Dubai – but their hopes of finishing second in the ICC World Cricket League Championship disappeared.

Rath scored 143 off 137 balls, upping the pace after the arrival of captain Babar Hayat, who hit his second straight half-century in a 80-ball 89.

Hong Kong totalled 323 for four in their 50 overs and bowled out PNG for 230 for a 93-run victory.

The win ensured Hong Kong of third place in the eight-team table behind winners Netherlands and Scotland.

Hong Kong were hoping the Scots would lose to Kenya in their final match, which would have given them second place and enhanced their hopes of renewing cricket’s deal with the Hong Kong Sports Institute.

But Scotland won handily, though there was still much to celebrate for the Hong Kong players with their top-four place guaranteeing them a berth in March’s 2019 World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

Hong Kong made safe their place in Zimbabwe with their win over PNG in the first match on Wednesday. On Friday, Rath opened with Jamie Atkinson, who helped give his team a solid start before departing for 36.

Once Hayat arrived at the crease, the runs started to flow even faster, with the skipper hitting five sixes and five fours in his innings. Rath also went to town, feasting on three sixes and nine boundaries, while getting some late help from Tanwir Afzal (23 from 13 balls) and Scott McKechnie (11 from six).

PNG were never in the hunt, losing wickets early and they struggled to get themselves out of trouble.

Youngster Kiplin Doriga was the only PNG batsman to defy the Hong Kong bowlers, scoring an unbeaten 88 of 89 balls but his effort went in vain. Ehsan Nawaz snared four wickets for Hong Kong while Nadeem Ahmed and Ehsan Khan bagged two each.

“It was a very good sign of where we are – we posted 300 plus in three games which shows we are getting more consistent in our batting areas, although I thought we left a few runs out there but that score was always going to be tough to chase,” said head coach Simon Cook.

“The journey you look at with our players a lot of them have come on a lot. The stand-outs are Anshy and Babar. Babar went up to number three two years ago and has started to take charge since then and for Anshuman to come on the way he has and Nadeem.

“I’m very happy with the finishing position – we targeted second but the margins were very small and we were only a few runs away from winning it. It’s a very encouraging time – if you look at the other associates around us now their age is a lot older than us so it’s a very exciting time for Hong Kong cricket.”