|World Cricket League Division 3: Hong Kong, January 2011|
Dramatic last overs see Hong Kong home against Italy
In the highest scoring fixture of the day, Hong Kong battled against Italy in a thrilling match that saw the hosts claim victory by one wicket with just two balls remaining.
Alessandro Bonora won the toss at Mission Road and elected to bat first and despite his opening batsmen failing to fire, he put on a hard-fought 77 while Peter Petricola provided his first century of the tournament to help the Italians to a total of 235 on a track that saw little action for the bowlers.
When Hong Kong took to the field the top order continued its poor run of form and none of the side made a solid partnership until the arrival of the middle order duo Nizakat Khan and Waqas Barkat and then later on captain Najeeb Amar.
The trio helped the side to rise up from being 68-5 to a point where victory was in the side’s grasp but with one wicket remaining and only one over to go, the match looked sure to be in the grasp of the Italians. However, tail-end batsman Aizaz Khan had other ideas, smashing his way to 24 in just eight balls, including three sixes, to help steer the side to victory with just two balls remaining.
Hong Kong captain Amar was naturally thrilled with the side’s comeback but is keen to remain focussed on Friday’s big fixture against table-toppers Papua New Guinea.
“I’m obviously relieved we won today after a tightly fought game where the track wasn’t really giving anything to our bowlers but when it came to us making the runs the task fell to the bottom order. They deserve credit for how they played, all of them taking responsibility to help us to victory.
“Friday we face Papua New Guinea who have been having a great tournament here but I’m not worried, we’ve a psychological advantage over them. We beat them in the warm-ups with a Hong Kong side that wasn’t full strength so I believe we’ve the upper hand going into Friday’s game, not them,” said Amar.