The line-up for the men’s Asia Cup 2018 got completed after Hong Kong defeated the United Arab Emirates by two wickets (DLS method) in a rain-affected qualifier in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. With the narrow win, Hong Kong booked their place in the tournament that begins on September 15. They join India and Pakistan in the Group A. A fine five-wicket haul from Aizaz Khan first helped Hong Kong restrict UAE to 176/9 in 24 overs before Hong Kong chased down their revised target of 179 with three balls left.
Hong Kong started off well as Nizakat Khan and Anshuman Rath added 64 runs in just six overs to put their team in front before Rohan Mustafa dismissed Nizakat, sending him back for a 20-ball 38.
Babar Hayat and Kinchit Shah followed Nizakat to the pavilion to leave the scoreboard reading 68/3, which became 82/4 in the 10th over when Ahmed Raza bowled Rath for 28.
Ashfaq Ahmed played a blinder, scoring 79 in 51 balls.
UAE were in front at that stage, but Christopher Carter (33 in 32 balls) and Ehsan Khan (29 in 24) made sure the game was back on an even keel with a 53-run stand for the fifth wicket.
A dramatic game took another turn when Carter was run out and Mohammad Naveed struck twice in one over to leave Hong Kong at a precarious 147/7.
Afzal fell off the last ball of the 23rd over for a 12-ball 15, but Hong Kong only needed three runs then, and they were scored without much fuss, McKechnie ending unbeaten on 14 from 11 balls.
Aizaz Khan returned outstanding figures of 5/28.
Hong Kong will play their Asia Cup opener against Pakistan in Dubai on 16 September, followed by the fixture against India, also in Dubai, on 18 September.
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