Ireland end Hong Kong resistance
IRELAND LEAVE IT LATE BUT CLAIM CRUCIAL WIN OVER HONG KONG
Ireland maintained their 100% Intercontinental Cup record at Stormont on Friday with a solid 70-run win over Hong Kong despite a defiant century from the visitors' Nizakat Khan.
Set 310 to win from 97 overs on the final day, Hong Kong rarely looked on course with only Babar Hyatt (28) and Christopher Carter (21) offering much in the way of resistance. Nizakat however was a much tougher nut to crack and while he took advantage of several reprieves, his was a fantastic effort in the circumstances.
Tim Murtagh (4-29) it was who finally ended the batsman's 182-ball stay, Nizakat the last wicket to fall with 14 fours and a six in his 123.
Indeed it was a relieved home camp that greeted the end of a stubborn 61-run stand with Nadeem Ahmed (28) for the 9th wicket as Ireland wore Hong Kong down.
Kevin O'Brien (2-36) and George Dockrell (2-57) provided the back up to Murtagh as the visitors reply finally closed on 239 all out.
Earlier in the day William Porterfield's men added just 31 to their overnight score of 199-6 as Afzal (3-53) and Nadeem (3-65) tidied things up pretty quickly.
Another 20 points and a 19-point gap between Ireland and second-placed Afghanistan in the table will no doubt please Head Coach John Bracewell, but he will know his side had to work very hard for the win.
As for the Intercontinental Cup it's a top-of-the-table clash next up for Ireland in India during March 2017.
Before that though, these two sides meet again in a two-match T20 series at Bready on Monday and Tuesday next; those games in the North West getting under way at 3.30 pm, preceded by matches between Ireland women and Bangladesh (10:30am).
Intercontinental Cup (result)
At Stormont, Ireland beat Hong Kong by 70 runs
Ireland 316 and 230 (J Anderson 59, E Joyce 37, W Porterfield 29, G Wilson 25, T Afzal 3-53, N Ahmed 3-65, T Ahmed 2-22)
Hong Kong 237 and 239 all out (80.2 overs, N Khan 123, B Hyatt 28, N Ahmed 28, C Carter 21, T Murtagh 4-29, K O'Brien 2-36, G Dockrell 2-57)