Hong Kong pulled of a comfortable 53-run victory over Canada in the 23rd match of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Monday (November 18).
Irfan Ahmed and Waqas Barkat, the openers, put on a 102-run stand for the first wicket after Canada won the toss and elected to field. Hiral Patel provided the breakthrough in the 12th over, dismissing Barkat for 31.
Ahmed then held the innings together and shared a 42-run partnership with Nizakat Khan for the fourth wicket and then reached his maiden Twenty20 century in just 53 balls before being dismissed by Harvir Baidwan for 100. Hong Kong ended its innings at 168 for 5.
Canada's chase was thwarted by Munir Dar, who dismissed both openers within six overs with only 26 runs on the board. Ashish Bagai (15) and Jimmy Hansara (26) put together 38 runs for the fourth wicket, but Irfan removed the two batsmen off successive balls.
The fight went out of Canada after that and though Raza-ur-Rehman (26) put up a fight, the task was always beyond Canada, which slipped to its third successive loss in the tournament, this one by 53 runs.
Dar ended with 4 for 17 and Irfan picked up 2 for 22.
Jamie Atkinson, the Hong Kong captain said, “Three wins from three games is excellent. We need to maintain the momentum, be positive and not slide. Next couples of our matches are in three days which will be important for us to win and maintain our top position.
"We have played UAE many times in other ICC tournaments, so we know a lot about their players, obviously they are very strong at home and they work well as a unit. So basically we need to get together again and keep pushing ourselves, and then we should have a great chance against them.”
Irfan Ahmed, the all-rounder, was named Man of the Match for his 53-ball century and two wickets.
“Past few innings have been quite outstanding and to score a hundred in a Twenty20 International and pick up two wickets in two balls was quiet amazing. In terms of T20s performances, can’t really imagine a better performance. Two other lads also picked up points; this shows there is consistency in the side and everyone is contributing,” the captain said.