Malaysia stunned Hong Kong by three wickets while the United Arab Emirates and Oman also posted wins on the opening day of the ACC Asia Cup Qualifier in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

UAE, one of the favourites to reach the final on Sept 6, routed Singapore by 215 runs while Oman edged a dramatic match against Nepal by seven wickets with 12 balls to spare.

But it was the hosts nation which produced the surprise of the day against higher-ranked Hong Kong, who arrived in Malaysia three weeks early to acclimatise.

However, Hong Kong found the going tough at a sun-bathed Kinrara Oval when they were bowled out for 161 in 46.4 overs with Pavandeep Singh, Syazrul Ezar Idrus and Suharril Fetri Shuib snarring three wickets each.

Malaysia overcame the blow of losing two early wickets with a patient approach to reach the target of 162 for the loss of seven wickets off 42.5 overs.

The win was Malaysia's first over Hong Kong in the 50-overs format since July 2002 at the ACC Trophy in Singapore.

Following a failure to secure promotion from Division 4 of the World Cricket League in May, Ahmad Faiz Mohammad Noor was restored as Malaysian captain but he may have wished to mark this occasion differently after being stumped for four.

Malaysia had by then lost Anwar Arudin (10) after just four balls and Suharril (four) and were precariously positioned on 37-3.

But Shafiq Sharif led the fight back with 49 runs off 63 balls only to be denied his fifty after being trapped leg before by Nadeem Ahmed, who finished with 4-25.

Malaysia's middle and lower order responded in fine fashion led by Syed Aziz Syed Mubarak (25), aided ably by Syahadat Ramli (23), Sharvin Muniandy (21) and Virandeep Singh (16).

Earlier, man-of-the-match Pavandeep took three top-order wickets for 13 runs as Hong Kong slumped to 72-4 with Suharril (3-24) and Syazrul (3-37) chipping in later on in the innings.

Babar Hayat hit a run-a-ball 58 to top score for Hong Kong while Scott McKechnie added 22 to give Hong Kong a lifeline.

UAE made short work of Singapore to win by 215 runs despite a delayed start due to a wet outfield at the UKM Oval in Bangi.

Man-of-the-match Chirag Suri made 111 runs, featuring 12 fours and two sixes, off 124 deliveries to lead UAE to 312-8 in a match reduced to 49 overs-a-side.

Ahmed Raza grabbed six wickets for 20 as Singapore were dismissed for 97 in 25.4 overs.

Suri put on a 105-run stand with fellow opener Ashfaq Ahmed (64) before Shaiman Anwar belted 75 off 62 to set UAE to their big score.

Six Singapore batsmen failed to get off the mark as Raza ran through the order with only captain Chetan Suryawanshi putting up resistance after a 51.

At the Bayuemas Oval in Klang, Oman chased Nepal's total of 221-9 by reaching 224-3 on the back of Khawar Ali's unbeaten 84.

Ali and Zeeshan Maqsood (45) finished the fourth wicket with a partnership of 77 runs as Nepal's bowlers toiled without success.

Jatinder Singh (31) and Vaibhav Wategaonkar (40) made valuable contributions to the Oman total.

Nepal relied heavily on Sagar Pun, who featured for champions Kuala Lumpur in the Malaysian Premier League recently, to rebuild their innings after falling to 80-4.

Pun hit six fours and two sixes in his 83 runs while Aarif Sheikh added 36 as Nepal set Oman a challenging chase. Opener Gyanendra Malla scored 45.

ACC Asia Cup Qualifier 2018: Day 1, 29th August 2018

Malaysia vs Hong Kong at Kinrara Oval
Malaysia won the toss and elected to field
Hong Kong: 161 all out off 46.4 overs (B.Hayat 58; P.Singh 3-13, S.Shuib 3-24, S.Idrus 3-37)
Malaysia: 162 for 7 off 42.5 overs (S.Sharif 49; N.Ahmed 4-25)
Man of the Match: Pavandeep Jagjit Singh (Malaysia)

Nepal vs Oman at Bayuemas Oval
Oman won the toss and elected to field
Nepal: 222 for 9 off 50 overs (G.Malla 45, S.Pun 83, A.Sheikh 36)
Oman: 224 for 3 off 48 overs (J.Singh 30, V.Wategaonkar 41, K.Ali 84*, Z.Maqsood 45*)
Man of the Match: Khawar Ali (Oman)

UAE vs Singapore at UKM Oval
Singapore won the toss and elected to field
UAE: 312 for 8 off 49 overs (A.Ahmed 64, C.Suri 111, S.Anwar 75; A.Mahboob 3-61)
Singapore: 97 all out off 25.4 overs (C.Suryawanshi 51*; A.Raza 6-20)
Man of the Match: Chirag Suri (UAE)

Tournament page

Photos by Peter Lim, Vincent Phoon, Alex Liew
Filed August 29th, 2018