Ashfaq Ahmed Asia Cup Qualifiers 2018, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE, Hong Kong, Nepal, Oman
Ashfaq Ahmed Getty Images (file photo)

UAE piled up 176 for 9 in 24 overs after Hong Kong asked them to bat in the final of the Asia Cup 2018 Qualifiers. They were 65 for 3 in the 16th over when rain put a halt to play at Kinrara Oval, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which means Hong Kong will need to chase 179. While opener Ashfaq Ahmed dominated proceedings with a 51-ball 79 (9 fours, 6 sixes), Aizaz Khan hit back before the stoppage with two quick wickets.

Tanwir Afzal and Ehsan Nawaz bowled a probing line and length as Ashfaq and Chirag Suri approached cautiously. UAE reached 20 without loss of a wicket after seven overs, three of which were maidens. Then Ashfaq went after Ehsan, smashing him for a four and two sixes.

But Hong Kong hit back: Tanwir struck first, clean bowling Suri; then Aizaz Khan bowled both captain Rohan Mustafa and Shaiman Anwar. UAE, 52 without loss after 12 overs, lost 3 for 13 in 20 balls before rain intervened.

The match was then reduced to a 24-over contest, and Ashfaq and Shaiman Anwar went after the bowlers. Poor Ehsan Khan bore the worst of the brunt. Anwar hit two sixes and a four off his first over and Ashfaq got another four, and the over went for 21. He was persisted with, and in his second over, Ashfaq hit two sixes and a four, and Ehsan went for 20.

Nadeem Ahmed took out both Anwar and Ashfaq in the 20th over, but by then the damage had been done: the pair had added 58 in 24 balls. Ehsan returned once the danger men were out of the way, only to go for 14 as both Adnan Mufti and Muhammad Usman went after his off-breaks. He finished with figures of 3-0-55-0. Aizaz took three more wickets in his final over, the 23rd of the innings, and had 5 for 28 at the end of the day.

Since the break, UAE amassed 111 runs in 52 balls.

Brief scores:

UAE 176 for 8 in 24 overs (Ashfaq Ahmed 79; Aizaz Khan 5 for 28, Nadeem Ahmed 3 for 28) vs Hong Kong.

Hong Kong need 179 in 24 overs.