Mon, 18 Nov 2019

United Arab Emirates 118 for 2 (Rameez 54, Suri 44*, Christie 2-24) beat Hong Kong 116 for 7 (Nizakat 31, Kinchit 30, Mustafa 2-17, Waheed 2-23) by eight wickets

Despite a solid platform of 93 for 2 in the 16th over, Hong Kong suffered a middle-order collapse at the back-end of their first innings to finish with only 116 for 7 in their 20 overs against United Arab Emirates. In response, UAE made swift work of the target, chasing it down with 29 balls to spare and eight wickets in hand. The margin of victory lifted UAE to the top of Group B, although that may just be temporary.

UAE's chase was spearheaded by the 93-run second-wicket stand between opener Chirag Suri and No. 3 Rameez Shahzad. After their captain Rohan Mustafa fell in the fourth over, the duo combined to strike nine fours and four sixes in their 67-ball stand to sniff out any hope of victory that Hong Kong may have had. Shahzad's 37-ball 54 was his highest T20I score, while Suri's 43-ball 44 brought the opener back into form, something UAE were missing from him at the start of the tournament. Hong Kong pacer Kyle Christie took both UAE wickets, but his dismissal of Shahzad in the 15th over was a mere formality. Three deliveries after the dismissal, Suri found the boundary to seal their second win in three games.

That UAE had to chase only 117 was thanks to their varied bowling attack. Junaid Siddique set the tone with the new ball in the first innings, conceding only nine runs in his two overs. With the run-rate hovering below six, openers Ahmad Abbasi and Nizakat Khan perished to left-arm spinner Ahmed Raza and medium-pacer Waheed Ahmed respectively inside 12 overs. A brief recovery then followed, with Kinchit Shah (30) and the captain Aizaz Khan (19) upping the scoring rate, but with both set batsmen falling in the death overs, their new batsmen failed to generate the momentum needed to put a total that would appear challenging. Mustafa's spell of 2 for 17, including two wickets for only two runs in the 20th over, made him the game's most economical bowler.

The result meant that Hong Kong's chances of qualifying for the semi-finals took a big blow while UAE's win has only strengthened their shout for a final-four spot.

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