Hong Kong thrash Saudi Arabia by 209 runs in ACC Trophy Elite 2012 opener

Hong Kong got their ACC Trophy Elite 2012 campaign off to the perfect start with a 209-run demolition of Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the tournament played in Dubai.

Hong Kong got their ACC Trophy Elite 2012 campaign off to the perfect start with a 209-run demolition of Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the tournament played in Dubai.
Hong Kong won the toss and elected to bat in hot conditions, with temperatures already touching 34˚C at 9:30AM when the game got underway. Hong Kong could not have got off to a worse start with Waqas Barkat caught off the first ball, after slashing at a wide delivery from Saudi opening bowler Javaid Iqbal straight to point.
Irfan Ahmed was joined by his skipper Jamie Atkinson and the pair put together a brilliant partnership worth 117 runs off 102 balls. Irfan was the early aggressor, but he was lucky to survive a chance when on 15 after slashing a ball to point, but the relatively simple chance was not taken. He made the most of that let-off to bring up his half-century off just 34 balls, striking 10 boundaries in the process. However it was Atkinson who fell first, missing out on a half-century by just one run in an innings that realised 5 fours and 1 six during a 54-ball stay at the crease. From 117-1, Hong Kong slipped to 119-3 when Irfan was caught at long-on - his 60 being scored off 50 balls. Nizakat Khan and Kinchit Shah put on another 30 runs but Kinchit was caught behind after reaching 16. Another budding partnership was cut short when Babar Hayat (8) was run-out off the first ball of the 31st over to leave Hong Kong at 172-5.
Nizakat Khan was starting to play some aggressive shots, striking 2 sixes and 4 fours in his half-century which came up off 51 balls. He received good support from fourteen year-old Anshuman Rath, playing in his first senior ACC tournament, who scored 13 but Rath fell LBW when the total had reached 210 in the 37th over. Nizakat was next to go, adding two more fours to his tally before also falling LBW for 65 in the 40th over.
At 230-7, it looked like Hong Kong's quest for quick runs might have cost them a really big score but a quick-fire cameo from Tanwir Ahmed, another player making his ACC debut for Hong Kong, helped to lift them to a final total of 278 in 48 overs. Afzal was the last man out having scored 40 off 32 balls, including 1 four and 4 sixes.
Mohammad Nadeem was the best of the Saudi bowlers, claiming 3-40 from nine overs while Ifthakar Ali picked up 2-48 from his ten overs.
Kuwait's reply got off to a positive start with Saudi skipper Nadeem Al-Nadwi striking a boundary off the first delivery of the innings bowled by Tanwir Afazal. However three balls later he was back in the pavilion without adding to his score after Afzal pegged back his stumps. A 22-run second wicket partnership was broken when Aizaz Khan had Omar Zafar caught behind by Anshuman Rath for 8. Afzal picked up his second wicket when he trapped Mohammad Mohsin LBW for 7 and when Nadeem Ahmed accepted a simple return catch from Omar Sohail (0), Saudi Arabia were in trouble at 37-4 after 10 overs.
Worse was to follow for the Saudis as Irfan Ahmed had Javaid Iqbal caught behind for 0 in his second over and when Suhrab Kilsingatakam was bowled by Nadeem Ahmed for 7, Saudi Arabia had slumped to 60-6. Syed Hassan struck 2 boundaries in his 14 (the only Saudi batsman to reach double figures) but his demise - LBW to Nadeem Ahmed - sparked a rapid end to the match. Nadeem grabbed his fourth wicket when he trapped Ifthakar Ali LBW while Nizakat Khan and Daljeet Singh grabbed one wicket each to rout the Saudis for just 67 in 22.1 overs.
Hong Kong's wining margin, a massive 209 runs, was one of their biggest on record.
Nadeem had the bowling figures off the match with four wickets for 5 runs off 7 overs, including 5 maidens while Tanwir Afzal was Hong Kong's only other multiple wicket-taker - his 2-10 coming from 5 overs. But it was Nizakat Khan who received the Man of the Match award for his fine innings of 65.
In other matches played, Nepal upset UAE by 4 wickets in the other Group B match while, in Group A, Afghanistan beat Malaysia by 36 runs and Oman thrashed Bhutan by a whopping 312 runs, having scored 415 in their 50 overs, with Zeeshan Maqsood run out for 199.
Hong Kong will take on Kuwait in their second match at Abu Dhabi on 4th October 2012.