Hong Kong v The Netherlands ODI @ Tin Kwong Road – 18 February, 2017


Perfect weather and a noisy partisan crowd were not enough to prevent Hong Kong losing the second ODI to The Netherlands at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground on the 18 February. Read the match report here.
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Hong Kong Fall Short Again…

For the third time in a week Hong Kong and the Netherlands laid on a thrilling game but unfortunately for the partisan crowd at the Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground it was the visitors who triumphed again.

It was another high scoring affair, the Netherlands posted 314-9, with the heroics of Anshuman Rath and Babar Hayat again not enough for Hong Kong as they fell short by 13 runs in a match they should have won.

In the four day game, Hong Kong dominated but didn’t have the mental fortitude and the game smarts to win the match and were forced to settle for a draw. The same applied in both ODI games, although chasing 300+ totals in both matches, Hong Kong laid the foundations to win but failed to finish the job. Credit to The Netherlands who stuck to their task, but Hong Kong should have had a clean sweep. The players need to learn how to win.

Netherlands opener Michael Rippon (53 off 78) and Ben Cooper (78 off 72) gave Netherlands a solid base, getting the Dutch to 97-1 in 20 overs.

Again it was a team effort from the Netherlands with the bat, with six players scoring over 20. Captain Peter Borren (49 off 43) and Pieter Seelaar (31 off 23) provided the impetus at the end of the innings.

The Netherlands threatened to make a higher target but were restricted in the final overs on a wicket just starting to lose some of its pace.

In response it was the familiar faces of Anshuman Rath and Babar Hayat who again dominated for Hong Kong. They took Hong Kong to 144-1 after 29 overs when Rath was stumped off the bowling of Rippon who backed up his half-century with two wickets in a man-of-the-match display.

For Rath, at just 19 the future is bright. He is now the leading run scorer in the World Cricket League after scores of 134 and 85 in the series. Nizakat Khan lifted the rate and blasted 41 off 26 balls to leave Hong Kong requiring 103 off 78 balls with 8 wickets still in tact.

But as in the first match, the Netherlands bowled with clever plans and good execution in the final overs. The home side couldn’t find the boundary enough and when Hayat was dismissed for 86 off 80 balls, the match was as good as done.

“There are a lot positives for us, there is a lot of talent in the dressing room and we are not far away,” Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat said. “We should have won one of these games at least and done better, so the players are just disappointed. It’s hard to take being so close in both games and not getting a win.”

Netherlands captain Peter Borren was understandably delighted with his side taking both games in the series. “A really good team performance from us. 315, we were pretty happy with that at half time on a wicket getting a little bit tired.”

“You have to give credit again to Anshuman and Babar who have batted for the last 9-10 days where we have chased a lot of balls, they deserve better than what they have got here but we are delighted to have the points from these games.”

“We can be very proud with how we have done in the last week or so against a very good Hong Kong team, they have been fantastic hosts.”

The Hong Kong squad will now break off into their Hong Kong T20 Blitz squads with that tournament to be held on March 8-12.

Additional reporting: HK Cricket
Photo: Panda Man

Anshuman Rath Debut Century in Vain

Anshuman Rath‘s debut century was in vain as Hong Kong crumbled again in the face of victory in the first ICC World Cricket League Championship match as they lost to The Netherlands by five runs.

After being set a mammoth target of 331 to win, Hong Kong were 308-5 with 20 balls remaining but a late collapse saw the home side fall short.

Earlier, the Dutch innings was put into gear through Stephan Myburgh (88 off 98) and Roelof Van Der Merwe (62 off 48). Heroes from the Intercontinental Cup match earlier in the week Ben Cooper (43 off 37) and Pieter Seelaar (50 off 43 balls) were again in good touch.

However, given at one stage they were 183-3 in 29 overs, Hong Kong’s bowlers did well to limit what could have been an even bigger total. For Hong Kong, Ehsan Khan 2-49 and Ehsan Nawaz (2-62) were the pick of the bowlers on a surface tailor made for batting.

This was proven when Hong Kong began their innings, with 20 runs scored from the first over. Their flying started was tempered with the loss of Chris Carter (19) and Jamie Atkinson (6), but this brought together what proved a match-turning partnership between Anshuman Rath and Babar Hayat.

They put on a partnership of 197 for the third wicket from just 190 balls. Rath, despite only being 19, finally reached his long-awaited century for Hong Kong after several near misses in the last 18 months.

Hayat was dismissed for 83 off 107 balls, backing up the 174 he made in the four-day fixture. But their dismissals took the chase from cruise control to tension as the lower order continued to pick out fielders on the boundary.

Twenty runs were needed from the last three overs with four wickets left, but the Dutch showed cooler heads to triumph and move to the top of the World Cricket League table.

Momentum swung both ways through the match. We were happy to have 330 but we lost wickets at crucial times. we were in control and probably should have made more than that,” said Netherlands captain Peter Borren.

Rath and Babar batted really well but I have to say Hong Kong gave it to us at the end so we will have to be a lot better in two days’ time, but we are pretty stoked to get the two points in what is a huge win.”

Hong Kong coach Simon Cook lamented a major missed opportunity for his side. “One that got away, which at the halfway stage we wouldn’t have expected, definitely one that we lost.”

Some very poor shots and poor thinking under pressure was what it comes down to. We were 250-2 and lost a wicket then we lost two wickets quickly and with new men in it became difficult. Pleased for Anshuman to get over the line, it was good see him convert those 80’s and 90s into 100 and Babar Hayat to maintain his form.”

The guys are pretty raw at the moment, when you get as close as we did it, it hurts a bit more, there will be a bit of work to do to pick the guys up.”

The second and final match will be held on Saturday.

Additional reporting: HK Cricket

Dutch Stymie Hong Kong To Earn Draw

Hong Kong were left frustrated by a phenomenal Netherlands rearguard action as the ICC Intercontinental Cup match ended in a draw at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground.

At lunch on the final day, Hong Kong required just four more wickets for victory, but a mammoth 288-run partnership from Ben Cooper and Pieter Seelaar denied the hosts victory.

It had started in promising fashion for the hosts when Nadeem Ahmed dismissed Wesley Barresi for 28, which was followed by successive strikes from Ehsan Nawaz to reduce The Netherlands to 105-5.

With 80 overs left in the day and Timm Van Der Gugten unable to bat due to injury, Hong Kong looked set to complete victory in their maiden First Class match at home.

But Cooper was joined by Seelar in what turned out to be a marathon partnership that spanned for more than two sessions. The scored finished on 393-5, which was still 114 runs short of the 507-run target set by Hong Kong.

Neither batsman had previously scored a First Class century, but both well surpassed that milestone with Cooper scoring 173 from 317 balls, while Seelaar finished on 138 from 239 deliveries.

The unbeaten partnership defying 474 balls sent down by Hong Kong’s bowlers who up until that point had controlled the game.

“I’m a bit disappointed but at the same time I’m proud that we were on top for three and a bit days but today was a bit disappointing we should have won it,” said Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat.

“I think we dropped a couple of half chances in the field and if we took those it would have made the difference. The guys bowled really well for us and all contributed it was just those half chances. They deserve credit for the way they played, they batted more than two sessions and we couldn’t get through them.”

A sore and stiff looking Ben Cooper spoke after the game, understandably proud of his achievements which earned him Man of the Match honours.

“It wasn’t the best position to be in but we just backed ourselves and knuckled down,” Cooper said. “It’s the stuff you dream about to make such a good hundred as your first one and to be out there with Pieter was special.”

“I was following and looking at the scoreboard but in the end I just had to knuckle down and bat it out.” Copper added “It will be a quick turnaround but to have a game like that and personally put some runs on the board it feels good going into those World Cricket League games.”

Additional reporting: HK Cricket
Photo: Panda Man

Anshuman Rath’s 88 Runs and 2 Wickets Lead Hong Kong on Day 3

Hong Kong are eight wickets from victory heading into the final day of their ICC Intercontinental Cup clash against The Netherlands, who trail by 459, at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground.

Anshuman Rath backed up his unbeaten 98 with a sublime 88 in the second innings as Hong Kong declared at 263-6 to set The Netherlands a sizable 507 to win. The Dutch were 48-2 at stumps with Timm Van Der Gugten unable to bat due to a shoulder injury.

Earlier, Netherlands resumed their first innings 216-5 but were dismissed within the opening session for 284. Rath continued his incredible individual game by taking 2-18 with his left-arm spin.

Quick runs were in order for Hong Kong to set the Dutch a target and Chris Carter (35), Nizakat Khan (32) and Babar Hayat (31) ensured a solid start to the innings. That allowed the in-form Rath to play with freedom and he delivered a 101-ball 88 that included 5 fours and 2 sixes.

When the declaration finally came, Netherlands had to see out a minimum 116 overs to save the game. And it didn’t start well with Tanwir Afzal getting the edge of Stephan Myburgh in the first over in the innings, just as he’d done in the first.

The Netherlands endeavoured to bunker down with the total outside a realistic range and it wasn’t until the final 20 minutes in the day when Ehsan Nawaz picked up the vital second breakthrough of Max O’Dowd for 22.

Ben Cooper (19*) and Wesley Barresi (5*) will resume on day four.

“We are in a very strong position and another dominant display with the bat with Anshy playing a solid role and showing what a mature player he is at just 19,” said Hong Kong coach Simon Cook.

“The sky is the limit for him really, he’s got limits in his technique but he’s worked on those areas and with his tactical nouse it makes him a very effective and efficient cricketer in all situations.”

“I’m hugely pleased and the consistency shows on these flat wickets where you can’t just get back into the game with a turning wicket or low scores where your bowlers don’t have to be disciplined to get rewards. It’s been a very encouraging three days.”

“I think the seamers hold the key on this pitch, there’s not much assistance for spin but there is significant uneven bounce if you can bowl stump to stump.”

Additional reporting: HK Cricket
Photo: Panda Man

Hong Kong Dominate Day 2 Against The Netherlands

Hong Kong continued their dominance on day two of their Intercontinental Cup clash against The Netherlands at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground. Resuming on 366-3, Hong Kong posted their highest ever First Class score of 527 – before reducing the visitors to 216-5 at stumps.

Babar Hayat picked up from where he left off on day one, surpassing 150 as he and Anshuman Rath took their partnership past 100. Hayat was eventually given LBW for 173, his innings off 265 balls, including 22 fours and 2 sixes.

Attention then turn to Anshuman Rath and whether he could reach a maiden First Class century. He moved into the 90s with three wickets still in hand, but the Dutch denied him by polishing off the tail (with Ehsan Nawaz not able to bat), leaving the 19-year-old stranded on 98 not out.

In response, The Netherlands innings began full of action with the first two deliveries struck firmly to the boundary by Stephan Myburgh, before Tanwir Afzal knocked over his middle stump.

In the fifth over, Tanwir struck again as he lured Max O’Dowd to edge to wicket-keeper Chris Carter to have the Netherlands in huge trouble at 23-2.

Ben Cooper and Roelef Van Der Merwe combined to finally get the Dutch innings going. They put on 102 before left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed drew the edge of Cooper for 52. And then two balls later he struck again to send Wesley Barresi back for a duck.

Skipper Peter Borren came in and took to the spinners with his reverse sweep, hitting three boundaries with it until the pace of Aizaz Khan took his edge.

However, Van Der Merwe was in a ruthless mood, he reached his century with a towering six off 108 balls and took the Dutch score past 200.

Speaking after play, Anshuman Rath was pleased with his side’s position.

“We started off strong with the bat and got the total we wanted to, we are happy having five wickets, but maybe we just let them get a few too many. Roelof batted really well but if we kept them to 50 or 60 less we’d really be in the driving seat.”

“I’m sure I’ll get over it (being left on 98*), I’m a bit disappointed but that’s cricket. While I was batting in the 90s I thought it’s time to convert one of these into a 100.”

“I’ve focused a lot of time in the gym getting fitter and also my boundary options which was lacking compared to others in the team. It’s been a good couple of months for me and I just want to keep it going.”

“It’s a good batting wicket but there is enough in it for the bowlers and it’s starting to turn a little bit which is a good sign for us. It’s a case of us bowling well and bowling to our plans.”

Additional reporting and images: HK Cricket, Panda Man

Captain Babar Hayat Scores Magnificent 141 Not Out

ICC sanctioned First Class cricket finally made it’s long awaited debut in Hong Kong and captain Babar Hayat ensured it would be a milestone day for his side with a magnificent unbeaten century.

Hayat the owner of the first, First Class and T20 International hundreds by a Hong Kong player, added another feather to his cap with an unbeaten 141 as Hong Kong amassed 366-3 on day one of the ICC Intercontinental Cup match against The Netherlands.

Sent in to bat after losing the toss, debutant Matt Stiller and Chris Carter got Hong Kong off to a spritely start, scoring 50 runs in the first 10 overs with crisp drives a feature of their play. Stiller eventually nicked a good delivery from Vivian Kingma for 42, but the 90-run partnership had laid a strong platform.

Carter and Hayat continued to score freely, guiding Hong Kong to 121-1 at lunch. Although The Netherlands’ bowling attack was hampered by an injury to opening bowler Timm Van Der Gugten, who suffered a shoulder injury while diving in the outfield.

After the break, the spin of Roelof Van De Merwe slowed progress somewhat but Hong Kong again only lost one wicket in the session, that of Chris Carter for 84 – his highest First Class score.

Resuming at 227-2 after tea, Hayat and Nizakat Khan played with freedom. Babar’s century, courtesy of an ungainly dive, came from 162 balls, while Nizakat raised his 50 in 89 balls.

The partnership was worth 117 when Nizakat fended a ball to second slip following the introduction of the second new ball. The day was already Hong Kong’s at that point and the Hayat and Anshuman Rath (23*) partnership added 53 before the close. The home side are in a strong position to accelerate further on day two.

“The boys got off to a really good start and then when I came in they kept supporting me,” Hayat said. “I’ve never batted for this long before so I’m really pleased with this, we were thinking 230 or 240 would be a good score at the end of the day so we are looking forward to hopefully putting 500 on the board tomorrow.”

“The guys have been working really hard on our batting and everyone was feeling good coming into today so pleasing to put a good performance on the board.” Hayat continued “We lost the toss but thankfully they chose to bowl first, hopefully the wicket can spin on day three and four.”

Additional reporting and images: HK Cricket

Oman Humiliate Hong Kong in the Desert

Hong Kong’s Desert T20 adventure went from bad, conceding 185 against Scotland in their opening match, to humiliating in their second against Oman where their batting and hopes of progressing in the tournament imploded.

The Zayed Cricket Stadium will hold no fond memories, hopefully a change of venue for the final game will see Hong Kong at least competitive. Losing is part of the game, getting thrashed twice is not the best start for an important year for local cricket.

After wining the toss and choosing to bat, Hong Kong were bowled out for 87 with Aizaz Khan (19) top scorer and only two other players Ehsan Khan (10) and Chris Carter (17) reaching double figures.

In response, despite an early wicket to Nadeem Ahmed, Oman reach the target in the 11 overs for the loss of just three wickets.

“It is one of those things that happens every so often,” Simon Cook, the Hong Kong coach, said of the batting implosion.

“We paid the price for playing across the line too much. It was a cascade effect, and 88 is just not defendable.”

Hong Kong Desert T20 Fixtures
18 January: Netherlands v Hong Kong (Dubai International Stadium)