Afghanistan, Oman and UAE emerged as the frontrunners after the third day of the ACC Twenty20 Cup.
The match between Afghanistan and Hong Kong was expected to be one of the matches of the tournament, but Hong Kong, coming into the match on the back of successive defeats, again failed to impress. Afghanistan raced to 222 for 5 thanks to half centuries from Mohammed Shahzad (74 from 46 balls) and Mohammed Nabi (65 from 31) and Hong Kong almost gave up from the off as they meandered to 102 for 9.
Oman beat another disappointing side, Nepal, by 12 runs in a low-scoring game. Oman scraped 112 for 9 in their 20 overs, Dipendra Chaudhry turning in 4 for 19, but Nepal’s batsmen again failed as they were bowled out for 100.
Saudi Arabia and UAE went into their clash with 100% records, but Saudi Arabia struggled after a poor start and only managed 101 for 6, a score which never looked enough as UAE romped to a nine-wicket win in a little over half their overs. Mohammed Iqbal feasted on some average bowling to score 71 from 37 balls.
In a battle of the expats at Sharjah, Qatar edged past Bahrain by three runs in a game which went down to the last delivery. Bahrain needed four to win but Haroon Naseer was dismissed going for glory.
China were again outclassed as they went down by 132 runs to Singapore, limping to 93 for 7 when set a target of 226. Chetan Suryawanshi recorded the tournament’s second hundred, hammering a brutal 102 from 38 balls
Kuwait also eased to a straightforward win, beating Malaysia by 97 runs after bowling them out for 112.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa