Hong Kong cliched qualification to the 2018 ACC Asia Cup with a nerve-wrecking two wicket win over the United Arab Emirates in the final of the qualifying tournament in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

In a match reduced to 24 overs-a-side due to rain, Hong Kong claimed victory with three balls to spare after a gritty run chase.

UAE, who were at 65-3 when the rain came, added 111 runs upon resumption with opener Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed scoring 79 off 51 balls to reach 176-9 in 24 overs as Hong Kong's Aizaz Khan claimed five wickets for 28.

Hong Kong were set a target of 179 under the Duckworth-Lewis method which they just about achieved off Ehsan Nawaz's last hit in a result which was much closer than Hong Kong's 182-run win over UAE in the league stage.

But Hong Kong, who recovered from losing their first match of the six-team tournament against Malaysia, looked to be in trouble when losing two wickets in the space of three deliveries at 147-7.

Two towering sixes by Tanwir Afzal and Scott McKechnie in the 22nd over revived Hong Kong before Afzal's departure off the last ball of the 23rd over gave UAE a glimmer of hope with three runs needed.

However, Ehsan and McKechnie combined to ensure that Hong Kong got over the line and set up a meeting with defending champions India and Pakistan in Group A of the Asia Cup starting on Sept 15 in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Nizakat Khan Mohammad top scored for Hong Kong with 38 runs while Christopher Carter added 33 runs before being run out in a mix up with Ehsan Khan.

"Firstly, I would like to thank UAE for playing a tremendous game. The game got away from us that little period," said Hong Kong captain Anshuman Rath. "The momentum was with them but we knew that but we knew that if we kept our focus on batting that we'd get there."

It was heartbreak for UAE who will miss out on playing the Asia Cup on home soil.

"It was a big opportunity for everyone to show what they can do and congratulations to Hong Kong," said UAE captain Rohan Mustafa. "I think we batted really well especially when there was little chance to score 180 runs after the rain delay."

UAE had the consolation of seeing Ahmad Raza named player of the tournament after taking 16 wickets.

ACC Asia Cup Qualifier 2018: Day 9, 6th September 2018

FINAL: UAE vs Hong Kong at Kinrara Oval
Hong Kong won the toss and elected to field
UAE: 176 for 9 off 24 overs (A.Ahmed 79; A.Khan 5-28, N.Ahmed 3-28)
Hong Kong: 179 for 8 off 23.3 overs (N.Khan 38, C.Carter 33)
Man of the Match: Mohammad Aizaz Khan (Hong Kong)
Man of the Tournament: Ahmed Raza (UAE)

Tournament page

Photos by Peter Lim, Vincent Phoon
Filed September 6th, 2018