|Mohsin Jafri of the UAE receiving the Man of the Match award from ACC Development Manager Sultan Rana|
Afghanistan made the tournament's highest score of 267 in their quarter-final match against Hong Kong, as they won by 217 runs in a match which they dominated from the moment Sajid Khan hit the first ball of the match for four.
On paper, the match-up between Afghanistan's raw talent against Hong Kong's cultivated coaching was an interesting one. On the field, the Afghan boys' greater physiques overwhelmed the diminutive Hong Kong team. The broad bats of openers Sajid Khan (118 of 105 balls) and Hasanullah (105 off 124) shared a stand of 237 for the first wicket and were thunderous in their strokeplay.
Hong Kong persevered well, and many other teams would have conceded more runs. When it came to their turn to bat however the Afghan pace attack ripped through Hong Kong as they were bowled out for just 50 in the 18th over. Only opener James Atkinson was able to resist, and his composure and class mark him out as one to watch in the coming years. Hong Kong have impressed many in this tournament and will be the stronger for for their experience.
In the day's other quarter-finals, Nepal's all-round strength overcame Bahrain as they won by 10 wickets and Malaysia beat a plucky Kuwaiti side by 66 runs. In the most closely contested match of the day, UAE beat a talented Singapore side by three wickets. UAE Captain Pranav Rai made a vital 32, and had it not been for his contribution in the middle-order Singapore may well have sneaked home.
The semi-finals will be Afghanistan v Malaysia and Nepal v UAE and promise to be highly competitive matches.
Filed April 20 2005