Hong Kong captain Jamie Atkinson provided a solid base at the top with 31 © AFP
Mar 18, 2014
Hong Kong batsmen battled hard to post a competitive total of 153 of eight against Afghanistan in the ICC World T20 2014 Group A qualifier, thanks to some gritty knocks by their premier top order batsmen, Jamie Atkinson and Mark Chapman.
Afghanistan made a dream start to this do or die fixture by Shapoor Zadran taking a wicket of the first delivery of the match, dismissing all-rounder Irfan Ahmed. After the way the Hong Kong batsmen capitulated in the previous fixture against Nepal, a déjà vu of the collapse was on the cards.
Captain Atkinson, however, led a superb counter-punch despite the early wicket. Atkinson played some lovely shots of his body, which included a huge six of Gulbadin Naib.
Waqas Barkat gave the captain good support and played the sheet anchor’s role to perfection. Atkinson however departed for a well made 31 that gave belief and verve to the Hong Kong batting. Spinner Hamza Hotak was the wicket-taker.
Chapman, then came to the crease and with the well set Barkat, constructed a good partnership. The 19-year old southpaw, despite getting hit on the grill by a snorter from by the fiery Daulat Zadran, fought back bravely and steadied the Hong Kong ship. Chapman and Barkat scored more than 50 runs for the fourth wicket. Zadran eventually removed Chapman and with overs running out, Hong Kong batsmen scampered for runs and ended up losing wickets at regular intervals.
Afghanistan fielding was terrible and missed several chances on the field. In the latter overs however, the fielding drastically improved but it was Hong Kong who should be commended for making a competitive total, in what was a vastly improved performance.
Hong Kong 153 for 8 (Waqas Barkat 32, Jamie Atkinson 31, Mark Chapman 38; Shapoor Zadran 2 for 27, Mohammad Nabi 2 for 27) vs Afghanistan.
ICC World T20 2014 Schedule details
ICC World T20 2014 Points Table and Team Standings
(R Vishal is a journalist and an alumni of the Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)