Singapore’s Chaminda Ruwan

Just like the London buses, you wait ages for one and then two come along together - right after their first victory against Hong Kong in 34 years, in the corresponding fixture last year, Singapore beat them again in this year’s ACC Premier League.

An undefeated innings of 122 by Singapore’s captain Chaminda Ruwan set up victory for his side, as they beat Hong Kong by 158 runs. Ruwan’s was a Jekyll and Hyde innings – 80 runs came in boundaries, off just 17 delieveries, with the other 42 coming off another 160. In between the big shots came periods of absolute watchful defense as Hong Kong’s wily old spinners, Najeeb Amar and Ilyas Gul kept chipping away. Some measure of Ruwan’s ability can be seen by the fact that next highst score for Singapore in their first innings was a painstaking 28 (off 84 deliveries) by Munish Arora.

Chaminda Ruwan walks off undefeated

Batting second, Hong Kong didn’t find the going much easier on a turgid surface that had been ravaged by moisture-laden air in recent days and eventhough edges didn’t carry. None of the batsmen trusted themselves enough to drive. It is on wickets like these that good technique shines through and invariably batsmen without it get found out. Hong Kong’s batsmen were just a little fallible in this respect and had Singapore possessed some serious bowling firepower, Hong Kong could have been dismissed for well short of their 191.

Hong Kong’s Tim Smart

Singapore’s plan in the second innings was to set up a platform for victory and that they did, with all the top order contributing. At one stage, with Singapore on 139 for 6, Hong Kong might have sniffed a chance of turning the tables but a 102-run partnership by all-rounders Christopher Janik (65*) and Pramodh Raja (47*). Streaky and not without alarms, they nevertheless took Singapore into a strong position and gave them enough time to bowl out Hong Kong.

Scoring at around 4.5 an over to win on this pudding of a wicket wasn’t going to be possible, Hong Kong were looking for a draw. And if Singapore have one historicval weakness it’s that of being unable to go for the jugular after having their hands around someone’s throat for much of a match. But this time the new ball claimed a few scalps and once the middle-order was exposed, Singapore’s spinners just kept plugging away and from 91 for 5, Hong Kong were bundled out for 116.

A despondent Hong Kong watching the match slip away

Singapore v Hong Kong, September 22-24, Kallang
Singapore: 224 off 70 overs (C. Ruwan 122*; H. Butt 3-48. I. Gul 3-34) and 241 for 6 decl. off 96 overs (Y. Naik 33, C. Janik 65*, P. Raja 47*; J. Iqbal 3-54)
Hong Kong: 191 off 86.3 overs (P.Raja 3-42) and 116 off 48.3 overs (P. Raja 3-37. J. Manoj 4-24)
Man of the Match: Chaminda Ruwan (Singapore)

Singapore 32 points, Hong Kong 13.5 points

Filed September 27 2006