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By Peter Della Penna in Dubai (on Twitter)
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Hong Kong fast bowler Aizaz Khan nipped USA’s chase in the bud with a
fiery spell of fast bowling to take 5 for 25 as Hong Kong defeated USA
by 77 runs in the 11th place match at the 2012 ICC World Twenty20
Qualifier in the UAE. Aizaz was named Man of the Match after helping his
side bowl out USA for 100, completing just the third five-wicket haul
of the tournament. USA finishes the tournament in 12th place with three
wins in nine games while Hong Kong ends it in 11th place with four wins
from nine matches.
“Coming into this game, I realized the toss would be a real important
factor,” said USA captain Sushil Nadkarni after the loss. “I lost the
toss today… and we were looking to bat first. Unfortunately we were put
into the field. I thought that that played into our weakness for this
game a little bit because the guys were really feeling tired right now
and we had to get into the field and field 20 overs before coming to
chase a big total. We really wanted to win but the best team came out on
Hong Kong won the toss and batted first. USA made one change to the
starting XI from the previous match against Bermuda. Japen Patel
returned to the lineup in favor of Nauman Mustafa, which meant Steven
Taylor kept wicket for the sixth time in the tournament.
Irfan Ahmed and Waqas Barkat opened the batting for Hong Kong,
putting on just 10 for the first wicket before Barkat was bowled by
Muhammad Ghous for 8. Barkat was trying to hit Ghous for his third
consecutive boundary by shuffling across his stumps to play a sweep but
was bowled behind his legs.
Ahmed was joined by Hong Kong captain Jamie Atkinson and the pair put
on 46 for the second wicket. Ahmed was dropped on 18 by Patel at long
on off the bowling of Ryan Corns on the first ball of the seventh over,
but Corns got Ahmed four balls later for 23 when he beat the batsman in
flight to have him stumped.
Meanwhile, Atkinson was enjoying his time at the opposite end as
USA’s spinners watched him sweep full deliveries off his pads all day
long without much fuss. Against pace, Atkinson received a steady diet of
short-pitched bowling that he also cross-batted to the leg side.
Atkinson received good support from Nizakat Khan and the two added 64
for the third wicket. Nizakat should have been caught for 9 by Nadkarni
at point in the 12th over, but survived to add another 23 runs.
Atkinson brought up his 50 in the 13th over, by which point he had hit
10 boundaries among his 30 deliveries faced. Only two of the 10 went
through the off side, with both of those going behind point.
Nizakat was finally caught on the cover boundary for 32 off the first
ball of the 15th over to make it 120 for 3. Roy Lamsam came in and took
only singles to try to give Atkinson as much strike as possible. The
captain hit two more boundaries, both through the leg side, before he
was finally bowled by Orlando Baker to give him his second wicket and
send Atkinson on his way for 63 to make it 135 for 4 on the first ball
of the 17th. Atkinson now leads the tournament in runs with 345,
including four half-centuries.
With Atkinson gone it appeared USA might be able to hold Hong Kong
under 160, but the fielding let them down yet again when the new man
Babar Hayat was dropped on 9 on a straightforward skied chance to Adil
Bhatti on the cover boundary off the bowling of Usman Shuja. Hayat
capitalized to help Hong Kong score 30 off the final 11 deliveries, with
23 of those runs coming off his own bat including two fours and two
sixes as Hong Kong finished on 177 for 4. Baker finished with 2 for 24
while Ghous took 1 for 12 in two to finish tied for the team lead in
wickets with Abhimanyu Rajp. Both players ended with 10 wickets although
Ghous played one more match than Rajp.
Taylor provided fireworks at the start of USA’s innings, tearing
medium pacer Max Tucker apart for four boundaries in the first over.
Aditya Mishra opened with him but succumbed to the second ball bowled by
Aizaz, a bouncer top-edged to the wicketkeeper Barkat, to make it 17
for 1 in the second over. Taylor tried to take back control for USA in
the third, launching Nizakat’s second ball over long on for a massive
six. Once a replacement ball was brought out, Nizakat changed angles to
come around the wicket and dismissed Taylor with his very next delivery,
getting the left-hander to come prodding forward and a simple catch was
taken behind the stumps by Barkat to dismiss Taylor for 26 in 12 balls
making it 28 for 2.
Taylor was gone, Aizaz set about ripping up the stumps from the
opposite end. Nadkarni tried to flick him through midwicket and was
bowled for 1. Three balls later, Patel went for a heave and was cleaned
up for 4 to finish the fourth over at 35 for 4.
Image (right) - ICC Match Referee David Jukes presents Aizaz Khan
with his Man of the Match award. [Courtesy: Peter Della
Two overs later, Baker played across the line and was bowled by Aizaz
for 9 to make it 42 for 5. Nizakat took his second in the seventh,
trapping Bhatti in front for a second-ball duck to make it 43 for 6.
Aizaz came back to finish his opening spell in the eighth and completed
his five-for with a picture perfect yorker to send Elmore Hutchinson
back to the pavilion without scoring and USA was 45 for 7.
“I think it goes back to just having proper programs,” said Nadkarni.
“There are lots of ways to prepare for fast bowling. You can use
bowling machines to prepare for that. You can actually get into the nets
and have guys bowling from 18 yards instead of 22 yards. There are
different ways to prepare for fast bowling but I don’t think we have
programs in place, neither do we have turf wickets, the kind of wickets
we’re playing over here, all across the US. So the guys, it’s a new
experience playing really quick bowling backed up by really good
fielding. So overall I’m not too disappointed.”
Corns got a genuine opportunity to spend some time in the middle for
the first time since the opening match against Uganda but failed to
capitalize. He entered to start the fifth over at the fall of the fourth
wicket, but got into a dreadful mixup with Shuja and wound up being run
out for 9. Corns attempted to take a leg bye off the bowling of Ahmed
and both batsmen wound up halfway down the track before freezing. Ahmed
fielded off his own bowling and tossed the ball underhanded into the
stumps at the striker’s end to get rid of Corns for 9 and it was 58 for 8
in the 10th.
USA’s best two partnerships of the match were then produced for the
ninth and 10th wickets. Shuja and Rajp put on 20 before Shuja was caught
slogging leg-spinner Kai Ming Li to deep midwicket for 14. Rajp and
Ghous put on 22 before Nizakat had Rajp stumped for 19, USA’s second
best score of the innings as USA was bundled out for 100 in 16.2 overs.
While Aizaz stole the show with the ball, Nizakat also ended with solid
figures of 3 for 11 in 3.2 overs.
USA’s next scheduled tournament action is ICC World Cricket League
Division Four, which was originally due to be held in Florida this May
but has now been pushed back to sometime later in the year at a site to
be determined. Nadkarni says he hopes the players will have gained some
valuable experience from their time in the UAE that they can put to good
use at Division Four.
“We feel like we have a bunch of guys in this team that are young,
that have gained this experience, and having Robin Singh working with us
was invaluable,” said Nadkarni. “The stuff he taught us or wanted us to
execute on the ground, that’s something all of us really didn’t know
how to play Twenty20 cricket and the things he taught us have helped us
kind of understand how the game is progressing and where we need to
execute what strategies. All these things, it’s a great thing for the
future because now we take the same team and we build it for Division
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