ACC Trophy Elite 2008
Nepal v Hong Kong

Nepal, disciplined in batting, bowling and fielding took advantage of every Hong Kong error to win their ACC Trophy opener at the Selangor Turf Club by 44 runs. “We just didn’t turn up today,” said Hong Kong coach Aftab Habib. Nepal’s margin of victory pretty much equated to the number of runs Hong Kong conceded with their lackadaisical fielding.

Sharad Vesawkar hits out for Nepal

When they were good – Nadeem Ahmed’s slow left arm spin, the boundaries from Butt Hussain, Moner Ahmed, Ilyas Gul, Najeeb Amar and the Ahmed brothers – Hong Kong were very good. When they were bad they were terrible. Up against a well-grooved unit like Nepal, a team has to be its best. Hong Kong, right after their creditable performance in the Asia Cup let the game slip away from them in the second over of the day.

Nepal had potentially given Hong Kong a chance to dictate the course of the match by choosing to bat on a wicket dampened by heavy atmospheric conditions. With a wicket lost in the first over (Kanishka Chaugai) to a ball that kept low, Nepal were indeed under pressure. Zain Abbas’s 20-run over which followed lifted that and Paresh Lohani and Sharad Vesawkar were untroubled throughout their 96-run partnership for the second wicket.

Butt Hussain catches Mahaboob Alam

Two dropped catches and general lack of support for the bowlers along with over-attacking field placing meant that Nepal always had a way to release any pressure building up.

Vesawkar was deceived by a beauty from Nadeem Ahmed as he came down the wicket - the ball of the day – and was stumped for 48. Lohani fell three balls later to the crafty Moner Ahmed and the game still hadn’t gone completely away from Hong Kong yet.

Nadeem Ahmed bowled beautifully, without much luck,
for Hong Kong

Nepal’s Paras Khadka made sure it did.

Paras Khadka

He played beautifully for his 81 – a cautious start, blossoming into an audacious display of power-hitting. He was out at the end of the 48th over with Nepal on 230. Hong Kong had made it too easy for Nepal. “The only time our batsmen got out was when they played shots outside the ‘V’’ said Nepal’s coach Roy Dias, “we gave our wickets away.”

Nepal – one dropped chance aside - were close to immaculate in the field. Hong Kong’s schizophrenic cricket continued when they batted. Nadeem Ahmed – opening for the first time for his country – played some spanking drives before he rather tamely scooped a cut to point. Butt Hussain, normally the biggest of hitters, had even his coach bemused by taking 16 balls to get off the mark. Countless times Hussain walked down the wicket only to play a defensive stroke; when he did truly liberate himself he hit the sweetest of sixes right over the head of long-on. He reached his 50 with a six and was stumped the ball after. Batting at 10, Ilyas Gul with 18 in the penultimate over showed what could have been done earlier.

Hong Kong didn’t lose by much in the end but they lost the match very early.

ACC Trophy Elite 2008, Group B

Hong Kong v Nepal at Selangor Turf Club
Nepal won the toss and chose to bat
Nepal: 245 for 7 off 50 overs (P. Lohani 42, S. Vesawkar 48, P. Khadka 81)
Hong Kong: 201 for 9 off 50 overs (B. Hussain 52, B. Das 3-57, B. Regmi 3-41)
Man of the Match: Paras Khadka (Nepal)

Photos courtesy of Aric Tan

Filed July 25 2008