Hong Kong have recorded their first ever Intercontinental Cup win after an abject batting performance by the home side UAE on the final day of the match in Dubai today.
Hong Kong won the toss and chose to bat first on the first day of the match back on Wednesday, and their innings initially started badly, with 18 year old Anshuman Rath out lbw in the fifth over with the score on 14. That brought Babar Hayat - fresh from his 78 in the warm-up game against England - to the crease to join first-class debutant Kinchit Shah.
The pair were able to put on 106 for the second wicket before Shah was out for 62. There was a brief flurry of wickets as Nizakat Khan, Jamie Atkinson and Chris Carter all fell cheaply. Once captain Tanwir Afzal joined Hayat at the crease, the innings was steadied with a 139 run sixth wicket partnership.
Hayat eventually reached his maiden first-class century (the first first-class century for Hong Kong) before falling nine overs before the close of play having scored 113. Come the close of play, Hong Kong hadn't lost any more wickets and were on 307-6.
Tanwir Afzal brought up his century early on the second morning, but was out for 104 shortly afterwards. Nadeem Ahmed chipped in with 29 batting at number 11 before Hong Kong were bowled out for 378. Asif Iqbal was the pick of the bowlers with 3-38, though credit should also be given to Ahmed Raza who toiled away for 46 overs.
The home side soon found themselves on the back foot when they batted, and were only on 23 in the 17th over when the third wicket fell. Usman Musthtaq and Swapnil Patil offered some resistance with 45 and 75 respectively, but the rest of the UAE batting was well below par.
Anshuman Rath was the pick of the Hong Kong bowlers with 4-34 as the hosts were bowled out for 181, 197 runs behind their opponents. That was enough for Hong Kong skipper Tanwir Afzal to enforce the follow on, but he instead opted to have Hong Kong bat again and set the UAE a target to chase.
The second innings for Hong Kong wasn't as good as the first, though Babar Hayat again starred with the bat, with 73 to take his performance for the tour across all formats to 352 runs at an average of 117.33. The next highest score was Anshuman Rath's 32. Tanwir Afzal surprisingly didn't declare, instead letting Hong Kong end the innings by being bowled out.
Ahmed Raza took 5-61 and Nasir Aziz took 4-90 as Hong Kong were bowled out for 184, giving UAE an unlikely target of 382. They survived three overs before the close of play, scoring five runs in the process.
The final day saw UAE wanting to survive the day for a draw, but instead saw a procession of wickets. They lost five wickets for just three runs in the first 2.4 overs on the final day as Hong Kong tore through their batting line up. Laxman Sreekumar and Qais Farooq were the only players to reach double figures, scoring 61 and 26 respectively.
The UAE were eventually bowled out for just 105 to lose by 276 runs. Nadeem Ahmed and Haseeb Amjad both took four wickets for the visitors, the latter going for just 10 runs from his 6.2 overs.
The attention for these two sides now turns to the World Cricket League Championship, with the two ODI matches in that tournament being played on Monday and Wednesday, also at the ICC Academy ground in Dubai. The next Intercontinental Cup match will be in a week's time as Afghanistan take on Papua New Guinea at Sharjah.