China’s Women achieved the biggest win of their career by defeating defending champions Hong Kong by 13 runs, on Day 1 of the 2011 ACC Women’s Twenty20 Championship in Kuwait. “We know Hong Kong’s game well and have played them and beaten them before but this was a good sign of improvement,” said China’s manager Zhang Tian. China’s win was set up by a sparkling batting performance as they made 129 for 4 in their 20 overs.

China were positive from the start, 7 runs coming off the first over, thanks to some emphatic drives from Zhang Mei and Sun Huan. Their 78-run partnership off 66 balls was clinical in its despatch of bad balls; the two young batters impressed with their running between the wickets and their driving through the off. Some strokes had ACC Development Officer Iqbal Sikander nodding in appreciation. “This is the best I’ve seen them bat,” he said, “they didn’t allow the Hong Kong bowlers to settle and they were really in no trouble at all, not even against what was expected to be a weakness, spin bowling.”

Mariko Hill – the Stuart Broad of the Hong Kong side – was the pick of the Hong Kong bowlers, bowling at pace to claim the first two China wickets but she could do nothing to dislodge Zhang Mei. The compact opener, who showed plenty of promise during the Asian Games in November today notched her highest score and made 50 at better than a run a ball. She has always seen the ball early but was held back by not knowing what stroke to choose to play. Today her thinking was clear and her strokeplay crisp in execution, with controlled strokes on both sides of the wicket. On a slow outfield she found the boundary six times with drives of timing and placement.

China’s 129 was going to take some getting, Hong Kong have a classy top-order and plenty of match-experience but China are typically bowl and field better than they bat. If they bowled as well as they did at the Asian Games, Hong Kong would be in trouble.

China's Mei Chun Hua steaming in

China were below par with the ball however, Mei Chunhua and Wang Meng struggling for rhythm and Wu Juan, normally metronomic and interrogatory with her off-spin, bowled more long-hops today than she has ever done before and Zhou Haijie was suffering with a cold. Hong Kong’s openers Keenu Gill and Neisha Pratt put had on 65 comfortably off 63 balls before Keenu Gill miscued to Zhang Mei (quite a fielder too) and even passing 100, they were up with the required run rate.

Hong Kong's Neisha Pratt

But they had suffered a big loss, Connie Wong had gone for 12 off 13 balls, run-out by inches, and with her Hong Kong lost the threat of boundaries. Hong Kong’s captain Neisha Pratt had been playing well within herself, marshalling her partners and playing a Javed Miandad-like innings – no big shots which lingered in the memory, nevertheless there had been boundaries and she was scoring at better than a run-a-ball before she was stumped, by a fraction, with 25 wanted and 14 balls left to get them.

China closed out the match with ease, winning by 13 runs. “We think we can go to the Final,” said their captain Wang Meng, really on this performance, having beaten Hong Kong with all their big guns, they are in with a serious chance. It’ll be due reward for some dedicated commitment if it happens.

Video: China: Making a Move

ACC Women’s Twenty20 Championship 2011

Group A: Hong Kong v China at KOC Hubara
China won the toss and chose to bat
China: 129 for 4 off 20 overs (Z.Mei 55, S.Huan 26; M.Hill 2-23)
Hong Kong: 116 for 7 off 20 overs (K.Gill 26, N.Pratt 45; Z.Haijie 2-27)
Player of the Match: Zhang Mei (China)

Tournament page

Filed February 19th, 2011