Australian fans adore Nizakat Khan after century but Hong Kong lose T20 games against Sydney Thunder
Opening batsman is given a standing ovation by the Orange crowd in the second match against the BBL champions
As Nizakat Khan smashed a six to reach his century, the crowd of 3,500 at Wade Park in the town of Orange cheered loudly and rose as one to acknowledge the Hong Kong player as they savoured a rare day of international cricket on their own doorstep.
Hong Kong may have lost both games against Australia’s Big Bash League champions Sydney Thunder, but the townsfolk of Orange, around 250km west of Sydney in New South Wales, adopted Khan as their hero after his 104 in the second Twenty20 on Sunday.
The Hong Kong opener went from 94 to 100 in the final over and the crowd were even happy that he was dropped when on 93. He hit 10 fours and five sixes in his innnings.
Watch: Nizakat Khan reaches his ton to a standing ovation in Orange, NSW
Khan’s innings, lacking support at the other end, was all in vain as Hong Kong could only manage 155 for nine in reply to the Thunder’s 168 for six.
In the Thunder innings, the class of Australian test hopeful Kurtis Patterson (43) and England ODI captain Eoin Morgan (42) shone through as they kept their rate above eight an over throughout.
In match one Sydney Thunder posted 200 for six, with Kyle Christie taking two wickets. Hong Kong in reply made 141 for seven with a number of batsmen making starts but not able to go on with it.
But the man of the moment for Hong Kong was Khan and the 24-year-old couldn’t take the smile off his face after play.
“It was an amazing feeling and best moments in my life, so I’m very happy with my performance and hopefully I can do well for the team next time as well,” said Khan, who was sought after for autographs by young fans.
“They were very good standard bowlers, bowling at 140kmh plus which we don’t see often but that was good fun today.
“Whenever someone bowls quick the ball travels as well and so I just played through the line and connected well.
“I think we need to improve a lot in our fielding, we need to take more responsibility. We are learning and that’s why this is such a great tour for us to prepare us for big matches in the new year.”
Sydney Thunder captain Ben Rohrer had high praise for Khan’s knock
“Unbelievable innings, very clean striker and hits to weird areas. He got a quick 30 but got out in the first game but in the second he was unstoppable.
“I think the boys got stuck into him as well and it didn’t phase him. Super talent hits them a long way.
“I watched a bit of the T20 World Cup and there was some talent so I knew there would be good competition for us but very pleased with how Hong Kong played and executed for the majority as well.”
Hong Kong next travel to Sydney to play the New South Wales second XI in two one-day games on Tuesday and Wednesday.