Dubai: Imran Haider did the star act as United Arab Emirates gave its fans plenty to cheer about on Thursday (January 26), defeating Hong Kong in the final league tie of the triangular tournament to emerge triumphant.
With both teams having beaten Scotland in their respectively opening matches, this game was a virtual final.
After bowling Hong Kong out for 174 despite an innings-binding 93 from Nizakat Khan, UAE rode on a clinical batting display to reach 175 for 4 with 71-ball remaining and notch a six-wicket victory at the Dubai International Cricket stadium.
Asked to bat, Hong Kong made a good start with Christopher Carter (18) and Cameron McAuslan (27) adding 47 runs for the opening wicket. But it lost the plot thereafter. After McAuslan was run out, Hong Kong lost Babar Hayat and Carter at the same score as three wickets fell in 10 deliveries for the addition of no runs.
Nizakat, however, kept their hopes alive, keeping one end bottled up. The problem for Hong Kong was that it didn’t find many who could keep him company for any length of time. Nizakat, whose 93 came from 111 balls with seven fours and three sixes, managed to string together a few useful partnerships along the way with the highest of 67 coming for the eighth wicket alongside Ehsan Nawaz.
Haider, the leg-spinner playing only his second ODI, was the pick of the bowlers for UAE with career-best figures of 4 for 25 from 10 overs. Haider had also taken 3 for 36 on his debut against Scotland at the same ground two days back.
Zahoor Khan, the medium-pacer who was also in his second ODI, ended with 3 for 29 from 4.5 overs.
UAE’s response kicked off with a 76-run opening partnership between Rohan Mustafa and Mohammed Qasim. Mustafa’s 44-ball 42 and Qasim’s 68-ball 41 kept it on course, though losing Mustafa and Ghulam Shabber in quick succession did put some pressure on its line-up.
Shaiman Anwar alleviated the situation with a swift half-century before Muhammad Usman (20 not out) and Mohammad Naveed (9 not out) completed the formalities. His 50 came from 62 deliveries with five boundaries.
Ehsan Khan, the off-spinner, kept Hong Kong interested with ODI best figures of 3 for 30 from 10 tidy overs, but the target was too modest to trouble UAE too much.
Hong Kong - 174 (Nizakat Khan 93, Haider 4-25)
United Arab Emirates - 175 for 4 (Anwar 50, Ehsan Khan 3-30)
Result - UAE won by six wickets