Hong Kong beaten by 91 runs in WCL Division 3 opener
Conditions were again hot and fine, with scattered cloud cover and a light sea breeze providing occasional relief from the blazing sun. The Kahlin Oval, home of the Darwin Cricket Club, is a relatively small ground located in suburbs of Cullen Bay, close to Darwin's city centre.
Uganda won the toss and elected to bat. The start to the game was delayed 15 minutes as groundsmen had to remark the wicket and ground to the satisfaction of the umpires, Simon Fry and Neil Harrison. When things finally got underway, Hong Kong enjoyed immediate success when Afzaal Haider induced an inside edge from Roger Mukasa from the fourth deliver of the game with the catch brilliantly taken by wicket-keeper Nasir Hameed, tumbling to his left. When the same combination accounted for the other opener Arthur Kyobe shortly afterwards, Uganda was on the backfoot at 2-37. Afzaal Haider had done the damage, returning the impressive figures of 2-10 from his opening six over burst. But Irfan Ahmed was proving wayward and he was replaced after conceding 25 runs from four overs. By this stage, the Ugandan skipper Joel Olwenyi had entered the fray and together with Benjamin Musoke, the two batsmen set about rebuilding the innings. The Ugandan pair stuck to their task in determined fashion and although only 90 runs came from the first 30 overs, there was no panic in the ranks. Progress was slow, with the lush outfield making it difficult for the batsmen to hit balls to the boundary, unless they risked taking the aerial route. This they tried on a few occasions, with luck on their side, as lofted shots fell into gaps between the despairing fielders.
Hong Kong's left-arm spinner Najeeb Amar again proved difficult to get away - his ten over spell in this match only conceding eleven runs. Olwenyi survived a sharp chance when he cracked a low catch to Nadeem Ahmed in the gully off the bowling of Hussain Butt but the chance was spilled. Olwenyi brought up his half-century and went on to 60 off 92 balls when his partner failed to answer his call for a quick single and he was left stranded mid-pitch. Junior Kwebiiha added a brisk 39 from 38 balls, including four boundaries and two sixes, before he perished in the deep. Musoke (48 from 124 balls) hit a couple of boundaries but his patient innings finally came to an end when he failed to clear Nadeem Ahmed in the deep. Frank Nsubuga (16 off 12 balls) and Kenneth Kamyuka (22 off 14 balls) continued the late surge that saw Uganda lash 106 runs off the last fifteen overs against a visibly tiring Hong Kong attack. Haider came back for two more overs but these were taken for 21 runs. By the end of their 50 overs, Uganda's total had reached a respectable 220-5.
Hussain Butt joined Eames at the crease and a quiet period of consolidation followed. Much hinged on the vaunted Butt, who was overdue a big score. Butt looked in good touch but when the total had reached 50, he called his partner through for a desperate single that saw Eames easily run-out at the bowlers' end. Joel Olwenyi chose his moment to come into the attack and he had immediate success when he clean bowled Butt for 19. 52-5 soon became 61-6 as Olwenyi had further success when he induced Zain Abbas to edge to the keeper for 0. Courtney Kruger joined Irfan Ahmed at the crease but another needless run-out saw Kruger back in the pavilion for just four. Wickets continued to tumble as Hong Kong's skipper Ilyas Gull fell LBW to Olwenyi - the Ugandan skipper picking up his third wicket. A late but fruitless flourish from Nadeem Ahmed (11 from 9 balls) and Afzaal Haider (19 from 32 balls) helped push Hong Kong's total over 100 but it could not prevent the inevitable. Hong Kong was eventually dismissed for 129 in 36.5 overs - an ignominious defeat by 91 runs. Irfan Ahmed provided the only innings of real substance for Hong Kong, finishing on 34 not out from 66 deliveries.
Uganda was clearly the better, fitter, smarter team on the day and their skipper Joel Olwenyi (60 runs and three wickets) was the stand out player of the game. The umpires duly named him Man of the Match.
Hong Kong's fielding effort was much improved but their bowling at the death and their failure with the bat will leave them looking for solutions. Tomorrow they face another tough match against the highly fancied Cayman Islands team, who strolled to a ten wicket victory over Tanzania in today's other fixture in the group.
Day One Match Summaries:
Argentina vs Italy - Gardens Oval
Italy 175-9 in 50 overs
Argentina 174 all out in 50 overs
Italy win by 1 run
PNG vs Fiji - Power Park
Fiji 135 all out
PNG win by 1 wicket
Cayman Islands vs Tanzania - Tracy Village
Tanzania 206-6 in 50 overs
Cayman Islands 210-0 in 45.4 overs (Steve Gordon 104*, Ainsley Hall 100*)
Cayman Islands win by 10 wickets
Hong Kong vs Uganda - Kahlin Oval
Uganda 220-5 in 50 overs
Hong Hong 129 all out n 36.5 overs
Uganda win by 91 runs